Five new Covid-19 cases have been recorded among prison inmates and three Department of Correctional Services (DCS) officials have recovered.
The five new cases – all among inmates – have increased the total number of positive cases among inmates to 177. Of these, 102 are in the Eastern Cape and 59 in the Western Cape. The remaining cases are in Gauteng and Limpopo.
Of the 99 officials who tested positive, 56 are in the Western Cape and 36 are in the Eastern Cape. The rest are in Limpopo, Gauteng and at the head office.
“In a statement on Friday, DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the three recovered officials who tested negative were in the Western Cape, increasing the total number of recoveries to 87.
“DCS continues to provide support to both officials and inmates who test positive to Covid-19,” Nxumalo said.
In an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 in prisons, and to ease overcrowding, President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised parole for low-risk inmates.
On Friday, Ramaphosa announced and gazetted the decision in terms of Section 84(2)(1) of the Constitution together with Section B2(1)(a) of the Correctional Services Act 1998.
In Proclamation 19 of 2020 gazetted on 8 May, Ramaphosa outlined that only select inmates would be eligible and they would only be released after processes have been followed.
In a statement on Friday, the Presidency said the parole dispensation would apply to low-risk inmates who have already served their minimum sentence, or who would approach this period in the next five years.
Around 19 000 inmates inside South Africa’s prisons are expected to be eligible for special parole to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.