By Sifiso Mpofu
THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has noted the need to enhance testing among new inmates in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 at its facilities.
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Deputy Officer Commanding Matabeleland South Province, Assistant Commissioner Mkhunjulelwa Ngwenya said the organisation has not been spared by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the continued increase in the number of inmates at its prisons creating a fresh headache.
Proffering solutions to the problem during the handover of personal protective equipment to the ZPCS by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association in Gwanda this Friday, Assistant Commissioner Ngwenya said the release on bail for those facing minor offences and increasing testing on new admissions will help minimise the spread of the disease at its facilities.
“The number of inmates has gone back to where it was before the amnesty. As such we are having a challenge in placing new admissions in our facilities separate from those who are already there. We therefore wish we could enhance testing and also appeal to our courts to deal with cases with speed,” said Assistant Commissioner Ngwenya.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association National Vice president, Themba Chiveya said the donation is meant to ensure that the inmates and officers are protected from this pandemic.
“Usually those in prisons are a forgotten lot, that is why we decided as an organisation to come and donate to the inmates here. We certainly hope it will go a long way in ensuring that they are protected from COVID-19,” said Chivega.
Six COVID-19 cases that included prisoners and officers that were recorded in Beitbridge and Plumtree prisons early this year have since fully recovered.
Meanwhile, government and well-wishers have continued to donate PPEs to people in institutionalised setups in order to contain the spread of the deadly pandemic as inmates are usually more at risk.
By Sifiso Mpofu