In view of the above, we recommend:
– A drastic overhaul of the investigative regime in relation to deaths and assaults on prisoners, with emphasis on:
o Expanding the powers of JICS so as to provide for full powers of investigation, similar to those of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which result in a court-ready docket to the NPA
o DCS being prohibited from investigating deaths and assaults implicating officials of the Department, such investigations being the preserve of JICS under an expanded mandate.
o The NPA declaring to Parliament on an annual basis the reasons why it has declined to prosecute cases of assault and deaths of prisoners
o Officials implicated in the death or assault of prisoners, including the Head of Prison, being suspended with immediate effect, as is currently the case in the event of an escape.
- – A Commission of Inquiry be established by the Office of the Inspecting Judge to investigate the safety of prisoners and the underlying causes for the alarmingly high number of unnatural deaths (including suicides) and assaults (including rape and sexual assault).
- – A comprehensive plan be submitted by DCS to Parliament on the steps it will take to improve prisoner safety.
The Detention Justice Forum (DJF) is a civil-society coalition, comprising of NGOs and CBOs which seek to ensure that the rights and well-being of those that are detained are respected and upheld, as enshrined under the South African Constitution, laws, and human rights principles.
Prof Lukas Muntingh
Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative (CSPRI) 021-9592950
082 200 6395
This statement is endorsed by the undersigned organisations:
- APT (Association for the Prevention of Torture)
- CALS (Centre for Applied Legal Studies) • Childline
• CSPRI (Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative