‘Revenge attack’ on prisoner’s child, 8
TWO Johannesburg prison warders allegedly sexually assaulted and manhandled the eight-yearold son of a prisoner who blew the whistle on their apparent involvement in the death of four inmates at Leeuwkop prison.
The alleged abuse occurred in a room adjacent to the prison’s visitors’ waiting area a week ago during visiting hours.
The boy and his mother were visiting his father, whose name has been withheld to protect the identity of the boy, when the child was attacked. The father, who is serving an eight-year sentence for car theft, is the mother’s fiancé.
The attack occurred after the boy was separated from his mother and herded into a room with two other men who were visiting relatives at the prison.
Inside the room the warders searched the men and the boy. The search apparently involved partially stripping the men and the boy.
The woman said her son was distraught. “Every time I try to get him to tell me exactly what happened he bursts into tears. He points to his genitals and cries.
“He says he tried to tell them to stop, but they would not and [said] they were doing this because of what his daddy did to them. He has nightmares and cannot sleep by himself,” said the mother.
She said her son had been play- ing with another inmate’s daughter, who was waiting to see her father, when she was separated from her son in a commotion.
“I could not find him. The next thing I knew he was running out of a small room. The warder was coming out with two other men.”
The mother of the boy said last year her fiancé had informed the prison’s authorities about how the warders’ negligence had allegedly led to four prisoners’ deaths.
She said he witnessed an incident when a fire started in a cell and the warders had deliberately delayed opening the cell door.
“They [the warders] were … upset with the prisoners because they were on a hunger strike and had not wanted to come out of their cells. When the fire started they took their time to open the cell. He said by the time they did open the door four of the prisoners were dead,” the woman told The Times.
Ever since her fiancé reported the warders they had been targeting him, she said.
The Department of Correctional Services said the alleged assault of the child was reported to the department’s investigation unit.
Ofentse Morwane, the department’s Gauteng spokesman, said: “The investigation by the departmental investigation unit will confirm what further steps should be taken, provided the allegations are true.
“[The department] will not hesitate to ensure that any person/s found guilty of any unlawful act or omission in this matter face the consequences of their actions.”