Johannesburg - Thirteen Johannesburg Correctional Centre officials face suspension following a Youth Month celebration that included scantily clad women.
Reports surfaced this weekend of pictures taken where alleged “strippers” and inmates were celebrating Youth Month at the Johannesburg Medium B Correctional Centre.
The images of the women dressed in what looks like underclothes caused a stir on social media.
Department of Correctional Services acting national commissioner James Smalberger briefed the media on Monday and did not confirm whether the women were strippers or not.
Smalberger instead said the women’s presence in the prison, popularly known as Sun City, was a breach of security.
“That was a clear breach of the security plan that was provided for the event as well as other relevant policies and procedures,” he said.
He apologised to South Africans, saying the incident was unacceptable.
“We will make sure that those found guilty face the consequences of their actions, and also that sufficient measures are in place to ensure that such incidents are not repeated."
“This type of conduct is unacceptable, particularly in a correctional facility where security is of paramount importance."
“At this stage, the preliminary findings indicate that at least 13 officials will be served with letters of contemplation of suspension,” said Smalberger.
According to Smalberger, the letters would be given to the officials once they explained what happened on the day.
“The management of the event should never have allowed it and immediately halted this type of explicit entertainment as pronounced by our policies,” said Smalberger.
Correction: Acting National Communicationer of Department of Correctional Services. pic.twitter.com/ck3JRAp9wz
According to Correctional Services head of communication Logan Maistry and Smalberger, there were six entertainment items approved for the event and the “strippers” were not one of them.
This incident is the first of its kind, said Smalberger. “I also wanted to give assurances that, based on briefings that we received on our visit to the place where this event happened, there was no taxpayers’ money involved in this entertainment as we call it. It was nothing in terms of the correctional services,” he said.
According to Smalberger, it was not unusual to have social events with NGOs rehabilitating prisoners.
“We need to keep in mind that people in these facilities will eventually be released into society. The rehabilitation has many forms and we have what we call sports and recreational arts and culture, and you would have seen that sometimes we would have athletic competitions and entertainment."
“We have many social partners that are assisting, where they will participate in gumboot dancing or going out into society such as schools,” said Smalberger.
He said the investigation will assist in identifying whether the women were “strippers” or dancers. The investigation is expected to be concluded by Friday and a report handed over to Minister Michael Masutha.