Following two consecutive incidents of attempted escapes by offenders at the Ekuseni Correctional Centre, Kwa-Zulu Natal Region, acting National Commissioner, Mr Makgothi Thobakgale, organised an operational visit to the centre with the Regional Executive and Chief Security Officer, Mr Lucky Mthethwa on 20 October 2021. Aimed at understanding the challenges faced by the center, Thobakgale outlined the importance of management responding speedily to challenges at centres.
‘’We have a role as management in terms of looking at our strategies and how we can improve on our policies. We also have a role in terms of understanding the plans that our management areas have put in place to address compromising situations, ’’said Thobakgale.
He further explained the importance of his visit to Ekuseni. “As the Acting National Commissioner, I saw it of great importance to come and interact with our colleagues who were on duty on the nights of these incidents, to understand what happened.
Beyond that, acknowledge their good work in terms of making it a point that the offenders that had left their cells and attempted to escape, are taken back safely. Practically what the colleagues did was to foil escapes, because if they were not alert enough and acted as they had done, we might have experienced massive escapes,’’said Thobakgale.
Ekuseni Correctional Centre’s mandate is to develop young offenders. “Ekuseni centre provides a conducive environment for skills development for young people incarcerated here and it has achieved great results,’’explained KwaZulu-Natal Regional Commissioner, Mr Kenneth Mthombeni.
Currently housing ninety-nine offenders, the facility’s dilapidated infrastructure has been identified as a security threat.
Ekuseni Correctional Centre Operational Support, Mr Enile Janse van Rensburg, acknowledged how the facility’s infrastructure contributes highly to most of the existing challenges.
However van Rensburg says they do not allow infrastructure challenges to prevent officials from taking accountability.
“We are innovative, we will go back to the basics as we cannot complain about the structure all the time, but we look at what mitigating steps we can take in our operations. We will also continue implementing the DCS’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to ensure that operations run smoothly,” said van Rensburg.
Thobakgale vowed to increase visibility of management at centers in order to strengthen the implementation of DCS mandate and also assist management areas in finding ways to mitigate against challenges.