Goodwood prison’s security measures must be reviewed after two warders were stabbed in a suspected gang-related incident at the weekend, says a community police forum boss.
The prison went into lock-down after the warders were stabbed in their chests moments after opening cell doors to feed inmates on Sunday April 8, at 8am.
Prison authorities believe the incident is gang-related.
“We were told that an offender, who was recently transferred from St Albans Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape and belongs to the 26s gangs, informed the other prisoners on his arrival that he was a general. According to gang culture, a general has to spill blood in order to assert his dominance, and that is why the incident took place,” said Department of Correctional Services spokesman Simphiwe Xako.
The two injured warders were admitted to N1 City Hospital and later discharged. Both are recuperating at home.
Mr Xako said to restore calm, warders from other prisons, including Pollsmoor, had reinforced the Goodwood facility, which holds close to 4000 inmates, and SAPS had deployed 150 officers to help with a search-and-seizure operation.
Mr Xako said the lock-down was lifted on Monday April 9.
“We are a high-security institution, and our prisoners are monitored 24-hours a day,” said Mr Xako.
“We are dealing with human beings who don’t want to be incarcerated, so it is natural that they would put in motion escape plans.
“We are on high alert, and we have brought in extra security personnel following the incident,” he said.
John Ross, chairman of the Goodwood Community Police Forum (CPF), said he was shocked and saddened by what had happened.
“Goodwood prison has always had a reputation of being relatively free from the gang influences. Prisons are obviously places of potential danger and violence.”
The CPF, he said, wanted security measures, specifically cell and visitor searches, reviewed to prevent a repeat of Sunday’s attack .
“The CPF wishes, the prison warders that were injured a full and speedy recovery. Our prison warders and officials have the right to work in a relatively secure environment,” he said.
Residents living near the prison expressed shock about the incident on social media.
Francois Philip van Zyl said: “I hope the officials recover. Attempted murder for that rubbish. Keep him locked up for life.”
Keith Drake wrote: “There was a time I stayed in Monte Vista opposite the this facility, and when we attended the meetings we were assured it was only a holding facility for on-trial prisoners. Now they speak of clashes between the 26 and 28 gangs. We never get what’s promised by any form of government.” Captain Waynne Theunis, spokesman for Goodwood police, confirmed the incident but would not give further details.