Two gay inmates at Kimberley Correctional Centre have laid charges after they were allegedly intimidated and threatened by fellow inmates and allegedly assaulted and pepper-sprayed by prison warders.
TWO GAY inmates at Kimberley Correctional Centre have laid charges after they were allegedly intimidated and threatened by fellow inmates and allegedly assaulted and pepper-sprayed by prison warders.
The case has been referred to the Kimberley Detective Service for further investigation.
In a statement, the inmates cited incidents that occurred between May 2020 and January this year.
They stated that they were forced to share a communal cell with fellow inmates whom they had to testify against on rape charges.
“After returning from court, we asked not to be kept in the same quarantine unit as the accused persons. A captain at the prison gave instructions that we should be assaulted, stripped naked pepper-sprayed. We were forced to sleep with our hands and feet tied up. We were denied the right to call the police to lay a charge.”
They said that they were threatened with being raped and stabbed on a daily basis because they are gay.
“We were threatened for snitching on inmates who had hidden dagga in their buttocks. We were pushed against the wall, assaulted and pepper-sprayed.”
The inmates stated that no permanent arrangements were made to separate them from the accused persons whom they had to testify against.
Sergeant Dikeledi Gopane said the Kimberley police were investigating a case of common assault after a complaint was lodged against a correctional officer.
“It is alleged that the inmates were kicked and slapped while one of the offenders was pepper-sprayed during the assault.”
She stated that no visible injuries were reported.
A spokesperson for the Department of Correctional Services, Singabakho Nxumalo, stated that standard operating procedures were “very clear” in terms of inmates intending to open or register cases with the SAPS.
“These are explained to inmates when being admitted. We were at the centre over the weekend and at no point did we receive any reports indicating that inmates are being threatened or prevented from reporting certain matters with management, SAPS and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services,” said Nxumalo.
He indicated that officials who may have been cited or deployed in the section where there was a “fracas leading to an unfortunate incident” should not report for duty in the same section.
“This was done in order to ensure that the investigation is not tampered with and safeguarding the safety of other inmates.”
Nxumalo strongly believed that the allegations were “nowhere near the truth”.
“They are concerted in order to draw sensationalism, thus creating unnecessary panic. We are not surprised though by such statements, they are often opportunistic in nature by those looking for prominence.
“We will appeal to the publication to subject such allegations to scrutiny in order to ensure that what is being reported has some credence.”