Prisoner organisations said sexual relations between warders and prisoners happened all the time and the recent video made headlines because it went viral.
Durban – PRISONER organisations said sexual relations between warders and prisoners happened all the time and the recent video made headlines because it went viral.
The video is of a warder and prisoner having sex in a room in Ncome Correctional Centre in Vryheid, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Since the video recently surfaced, there have been reports that the “couple” were married and that the official has since killed herself, however, the Department of Correctional Services disputed both reports.
On Wednesday, Golden Miles Bhudu of the SA Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR) said they initially did not want to comment, but changed their minds because it was not the first time such an incident happened.
“It is headlines today and as old as the mountains the next day and nothing comes of it. The mandate of this prison was lost along the line many years ago. Tomorrow it will happen again,” said Bhudu.
“If the system worked, these things were not going to happen. You will have a correctional officer that was well trained, well focused, well paid and not overworked. And you will have a prisoner that is also there to be educated, to be trained, to be given skills, so the prisoner can become rehabilitated and then reintegrated as a useful and productive citizen. Those things would have been in place but the system fell apart years ago.”
He said the warder would likely be dismissed, condemned, bad-mouthed and become a laughing stock and the prisoner though will be dealt with internally.
Derrick Mdluli, chairperson of the Justice for Prisoners and Detainees Trust for Human Rights, said the video showed how weak security was within correctional services, if a warder and a prisoner could have sex.
Mdluli said he had once questioned why female warders were allowed to work in a section with male prisoners.
“I once told the head of the centre at Westville Prison, that it’s very risky what they are doing. They are not supposed to mix female warders to work in Medium B because it’s a maximum security prison with long-serving prisoners. The same with Pietermaritzburg New Prison. And they told us, they are doing it because of overcrowding and there are huge staff shortages within their centres,” said Mdluli.
He concurred that warder-prisoner sexual relations happened all the time, across South Africa.
“It was just that this one made it to the media. We want to call on the Minister (Ronald Lamola) to reduce overcrowding in our centres because they are using female warders to guard male prisoners because of overcrowding,” said Mdluli.
Meanwhile, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) provincial secretary Nthabeleng Molefe said they discouraged such relations between correctional officials and prisoners as it could potentially compromise the safety of colleagues and prisoners.
“We call on all members to adhere to the prescripts of the department and make sure that the prison remains a rehabilitation centre for offenders,” said Molefe.
On Tuesday, Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the department would take strong action against the warder and the prisoner.
Nxumalo said the video left the department “appalled, embarrassed and gutted”.
“Sexual activities between inmates and correctional officials are shameful incidents that can never be ascribed to what is expected of our officials,” said Nxumalo.
“The official involved has been identified and she will be subjected to a disciplinary process with immediate effect. Disciplinary measures have also been instituted against the inmate.”
Nxumalo added that correctional officials were expected to abide by a code of conduct, and that sexual activities with inmates should never be tolerated.