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The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Wednesday urged the justice department to fast-track the Combating of Torture Bill to comply with its international obligations and prohibit acts of torture.
“Currently, the act of torture is not a recognised statutory crime in South Africa,” said commission spokesman Vincent Moaga in a statement.
“Torture legislation is needed (so) that the criminal justice system can deal more effectively with acts of torture.”
The comments come after the correctional services department and police launched an investigation into the conduct of six warders, accused of shocking a prisoner with an electrified riot shield at the Pretoria Central Prison.
The probe was initiated after a sound recording of what is claimed to be warders shocking a prisoner was smuggled out of prison, and aired on Radio 702.
Police spokeswoman Wanda Olivier told the broadcaster a case of assault had been opened, and that arrests were imminent.
Olivier was not immediately available for comment.
Correctional services spokesman Phumlani Ximiya said an internal investigation was underway. – Sapa