July 07 2017 – THERE are about 12 000 non SA citizens in SA jails, with hundreds of Zimbabweans awaiting trial or imprisoned for murder, says Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha
Masutha made the pronouncements in response to parliamentary questions by Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald, who wanted to know how many non SA citizens are in the SA jails, particularly the Zimbabweans and Mozambicans.
Masutha says 918 foreign nationals are in jail for murder while another 359 were awaiting trial while 454 have been imprisoned for rape and 254 are awaiting trial.
According to Masutha, 448 Zimbabweans are either currently imprisoned or awaiting trial for murder while 311 Mozambicans were behind bars for the same crime.
There are 186 Zimbabweans in jail for rape, there are 186 and 213 Mozambicans in prison.
He adds the the annual cost of taking care of each prisoner in the country is R133805 a year, which adds up to to R1.6-billion annually for the 11 842 foreign nationals behind bars.
Yesterday, department spokesman Logan Maistry said as of July 4 there were a total number of 158 111 prisoners, including the foreigners, in the 243 jails across the country. Out of that 40 823 were awaiting trial prisoners.
However, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum chairman Gabriel Shumba said asking such questions and releasing figures in the volatile environment foreigners faced was unhelpful.
“The moment you want to give crime a nation or race is stoking xenophobic flames.
“There is no basis to question what nationality is imprisoned, which prison and for what crime,” says Shumba amid claims that non SA citizens are behind Mzansi’s high crime rates.
Shumba argues that foreign nationals actually make up a “hugely small” percentage of prisoners in SA jails. – SowetanLive