SAWLA reaches out to female prisoners in bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19

June 5th, 2020

Members of the  South African Women Lawyers Association have donated masks at female prisons to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

Members of the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) have donated 629 goody bags, consisting of face masks, sanitary pads and hand sanitisers to some female prisoners around the country. According to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of SAWLA, after the Minister of

Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, visited an Eastern Cape prison and announced the number of COVID-19 cases in the prison, it became clear to SAWLA that the number would increase rapidly if no preventative measures were taken.

SAWLA pointed out that it is a known fact that South African prisons are overcrowded, and prisoners remain vulnerable to COVID-19. SAWLA added that it is up to the community where the correctional centres are located to assist. The organisation saw it fit to make a difference in the lives of female prisoners, and decided to embark on the initiative to donate to them.


SAWLA said the reason why it chose to assist only female prisoners, is because its mandate is to empower women, and assist in addressing issues pertaining to women in South Africa. In doing so, the organisation said it strives to share the limited resources it has with other South African women. The organisation said it wanted to emphasise that they support the journey of female prisoners in correctional institutions and rehabilitation centres, as they are their ‘mothers and sisters’. To date SAWLA has donated to the following prisons –

  • Eastern Cape – East London Medium C Female Centre (100);
  • Mpumalanga – Mbombela Correctional Centre (121);
  • Mpumalanga – Middelburg Correctional Centre (41)
  • Limpopo – Polokwane Correctional Centre (100);
  • Limpopo – Thohoyandou Female Correctional Centre (100);
  • Gauteng – Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre (167)

SAWLA added that they still plan to donate to other female prisons in all provinces around the country. All donations are contributed by SAWLA members. The President of SAWLA, Nomaswazi Shabangu-Mndawe and the rest of the NEC of SAWLA said they would like to express their sincere appreciation to all members who have donated and cooperated by reaching out to other women, during these trying times in the country.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.