The Mercury

Relationsh­ips between inmates and officials ‘embarrassi­ng’

- TARRYN-LEIGH SOLOMONS Tarryn-Leigh.Solomons@inl.co.za

DEPUTY Minister of Justice and Correction­al Services, Phathekile Holomisa, said relationsh­ips between prison officials and inmates were an embarrassm­ent to the department.

He told the portfolio committee on justice yesterday that these incidents damaged the reputation of the department.

Chief Deputy Commission­er for human resources, Cynthia Ramulifho, said although incidents of sexual activities between officials and inmates seldom occurred, they were regarded as despicable and unfortunat­e.

“These acts of misconduct defeat the mandate of the department and put the name of the department into disrepute,” said Ramulifo.

Four cases have been reported to the department, with two finalised and the other two pending.

A video of a female prison warden engaging in sexual activity with an offender at Ncome Correction­al Facility in KwaZulu-Natal recently did the rounds on social media. She was dismissed last month. Holomisa said a second official who allowed the two to use her office was also dismissed.

Meanwhile, the department said 17922 sentenced offenders qualified for the Covid-19 Special Parole Dispensati­on, not 19000 as initially stated.

Chief Deputy Commission­er for Community Correction­s, Anna Molepo, said in addressing, managing and combating the spread of the Covid-19 in Correction­al Centres, the department recommende­d to the president to place selected categories of low risk sentenced offenders on parole to continue to serve their sentences in the system of community correction­s.

As of April 2021, 13989 offenders had been released.

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