Westville – A number of inmates at prisons involved in protests against the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) have been transferred to different sections of their prisons or moved to isolation.
Westville prisoner Erwin Christmas, the first applicant in a successful court case for parole brought against the department, has been moved to isolation.
The department said it was unable to give detailed responses to questions relating to individual offenders or security operations, but confirmed that inmates had been relocated.
The KwaZulu-Natal High Court ruled on May 25 that the applications for parole of nine lifers at the Westville Correctional Centre must be processed “with immediate effect” and that they be considered even if reports from social workers and psychologists had not been completed.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha said at a press conference about a week ago that the judgment could have “devastating” consequences as inmates may be released without the correct assessments being completed.
An inmate in Westville said that they are currently preparing court documents to oppose Christmas’s isolation.
He believes that Christmas is being kept in isolation because Christmas was preparing to launch another court application for an additional 54 lifers who are also waiting to be considered for parole.
Department spokesperson Logan Maistry was unable to provide further information regarding Christmas’s relocation, but said that there are “processes that DCS must adhere to including reporting the matter to the Inspecting Judge [the judge appointed by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services who oversees prisons]”.