‘We do not know about boy’s al­leged as­sault’

The Times (South Africa) - - NEWS - GRAEME HOSKEN and SIPHO MABENA

THE De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices says it is not aware of an in­ci­dent in which an eight-year-old boy was al­legedly sex­u­ally as­saulted and manhandled by two prison warders.

Gaut­eng spokesman Ofentse Mor­wane said the al­leged as­sault was not re­ported to Leeuwkop man­age­ment and it did not know about it.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the depart- men­tal in­ves­ti­ga­tion unit will con­firm what fur­ther steps would be taken should the al­le­ga­tion prove true. The De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices 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.”

The boy and his mother were vis­it­ing his father in prison when they got sep­a­rated. The boy was herded into a room with two other men and searched. The search ap­par­ently in­volved par­tially strip­ping the men and the boy.

His father, who is serv­ing an eight-year term for car theft, blew the whis­tle on prison warders’ ap­par­ent in­volve­ment in the death of four in­mates in a fire at Leeuwkop prison.

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.”

She said late last year the boy’s father and her fi­ancé had told prison au­thor­i­ties that the warders’ in­ac­tion had led to the deaths of four in­mates.

She said he saw warders delib- er­ately de­lay open­ing the door of a cell in which a fire had been started. [The warders] were up­set be­cause the pris­on­ers were on hunger strike.

“When the fire started they took their time to open the cell. He said by the time they did‚ four pris­on­ers were dead.”

The warders had been tar­get­ing him since then, she said.

Mor­wane said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fire had not been com­pleted and they ex­pected a full re­port by the end of this month.

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