On 20 March 2020, the Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, advised that criminal prisons in South Africa would undergo deep cleaning in a bid to prevent coronavirus infections. In addition, visits to offenders are suspended for 30 days and testing measures are being rolled out. A local NGO, Sonke Gender Justice, has urged the government to take measures to protect prisoners from the Covid-19 crisis including releasing non-violent detainees, older prisoners or prisoners with existing illnesses. There are currently 162,875 prisoners for just 118,572 places in South Africa,
The GDP has been unable to find any reports indicating that authorities have taken measures to assist migrants and asylum seekers, including those in detention.
- J. Richardson, “Prisons to Undergo Deep Cleaning to Limit the Spread of Coronavirus,” 20 March 2020, www.thesouthafrican.com/news/prisons-undergo-deep-cleaning-limit-coronavirus/
- S. Mlamla, “SA Prisons Suspend Visits for 30 Days Due to Covid-19 Outbreak,” 18 March 2020, www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/sa-prisons-suspend-visits-for-30-days-due-to-covid-19-outbreak-45119045
- Z. Wasserman, “Protecting the Rights of Prisoners During the Covid-19 Lockdown”, Mail&Guardian, 26 March 2020, https://tinyurl.com/wcfwnft
- S. Mahtani, “We Need to Decongest Africa’s Prisons Urgently. For Everyone’s Sake,” African Arguments, 30 March 2020, https://tinyurl.com/u7mvw9r
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in South Africa, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/africa/south-africa