Bethal Management Area in Mpumalanga, in collaboration with the Department of Health, has embarked on mass screening and testing for COVID-19. This follows the official launch of the department’s mass screening campaign on 8 April 2020 by Minister Ronald Lamola, at Johannesburg Management Area, Gauteng Region.
Outgoing Area Commissioner of Bethal, Mr Sonnyboy Mndawe confirmed that the Management Area has started with the process to ensure that all inmates and officials are screened. “Officials are screened and sanitised every day when they enter the correctional centre so that inmates can be protected from being infected. Inmates were concerned about the risk of being infected by officials who have contact with the outside world, and therefore screening and testing is imperative,” he said.
All categories of inmates in Bethal, Piet Retief and Volksrust correctional centres, under Bethal Management Area, were screened and tested. In total, 1 120 offenders were screened and tested in Bethal Correctional Centre alone.
The inmates thanked the Department for its humane and caring approach to protect their health and wellbeing. The offenders said they were initially apprehensive about the suspension of visits, but are now at ease and have come to appreciate that the decision was taken in their best interests.