2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


CHILDREN IN PRISON

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES

Yet another policy on paper, but contrary in practice. This is the first reaction about the 2 000 (two thousand) children in Pollsmoor Prison.

It is stated clearly in the Constitution, and is Government policy, that children should not be kept in prisons: South Africa is contravening basic human rights by allowing these children be held in prison. The critical circumstances and deploring conditions under which these children are kept, is further contributing to an already unacceptable situation.

This is a sure sign of a reckless non-management of a problem. A number of juvenile prisons were already built and more were planned. Instead of implementing Government policy, the Minister of Correctional Services, prioritised to build more C-Max prisons. It must be asked why this decision was taken.

It is clear the Department of Correctional Services does not involve themselves in trying to find solutions. The Department can also not claim that shortage of staff is the problem, since the Minister froze 5 000 (five thousand) funded and agreed posts to build more jails. The Department of Correctional Services has now moved past the point of being incompetent, to a point where it can only be described as a complete embarrassment.

We cannot allow our children to be kept in prison, under such conditions and together with hardened criminals. The UDM calls on the Minister to immediately give attention to this problem, and to reprioritise available funds to address the desperate plight of juveniles in prison.

Enquiries:
Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Deputy Spokesperson for Correctional Services

Cape Town
05 June 2000