Tod­dler used to smug­gle phone

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Mal­i­bongwe Day­i­mani

A 25-year-old East­ern Cape woman used her two-year-old tod­dler to try to smug­gle a cell­phone to her lover in­side the St Al­bans max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison at Christ­mas.

The Black­berry stuffed into the baby’s nap­pies was de­tected when vis­i­tors were searched.

The woman was banned from vis­it­ing the man for a year, act­ing provin­cial cor­rec­tional ser­vices depart­ment com­mis­sioner Noziphiwo Dum­bela said.

Op­er­a­tion Vala, which ran from De­cem­ber 17 to 20, un­cov­ered 530 cell­phones, 183 charg­ers with 192 bat­ter­ies, in Mdantsane, East Lon­don, Port El­iz­a­beth, Mthatha and Gra­ham­stown pris­ons.

Depart­ment spokesper­son Vuyo Gadu said the woman would not re­veal who the smug­gled cell­phone was in­tended for, but of­fi­cials sus­pected it was for her boyfriend.

Gadu said in terms of an amend­ment to chap­ter three of the Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Act, cell­phones were barred be­cause they were known to help in­mates en­gage in fur­ther crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and were a se­cu­rity threat.

Dum­bela said: “All vis­i­tors are searched at the ac­cess con­trol [wait­ing area] and this par- tic­u­lar vis­i­tor was sent back home be­cause of the con­tra­band found on the tod­dler.”

She said the cor­rec­tional ser­vices depart­ment was send­ing out a stern warn­ing to mem­bers of the pub­lic to de­sist from as­sist­ing in­mates to smug­gle con­tra­band, say­ing they could be ar­rested.

Dum­bela said mem­bers of the pub­lic were of­ten found to have col­luded with in­mates to smug­gle con­tra­band.

“They al­ways find new ways of smug­gling con­tra­band in and that is why we have de­cided not to leave any­thing to chance and open ev­ery item brought by vis­i­tors.

“We once found drugs in­side body lo­tion and in­side a block of mar­garine.”

Dum­bela said the smug­gling was a safety risk.

“It is our man­date as the depart­ment to en­sure that all peo­ple in South Africa are and feel safe.”

The na­tional op­er­a­tion to pre­vent fes­tive sea­son es­capes and vi­o­lence at all 243 SA pris­ons was con­ducted at five East Cape pris­ons.

Drugs, in­clud­ing 307 pack­ets of man­drax and large quan­ti­ties of dagga, were also dis­cov­ered, along with four knives and 85 sharp­ened ob­jects. Liquor and cash were also seized from cells at the five pris­ons. –

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