Impromptu search led to arrest of prison warden for having dagga in her handbag

A prison warden was arrested in Mpumalanga after she was found in possession of drugs in her handbag. Picture: SAPS

A prison warden was arrested in Mpumalanga after she was found in possession of drugs in her handbag. Picture: SAPS

Published Aug 28, 2022


Pretoria - A forty-three-year-old female prison warden was arrested in Mpumalanga for possession of dagga following an impromptu search and seizure operation was conducted at a correctional facility on Friday.

“Her arrest came after the facility manager arrived at the correctional centre to conduct a morning parade with all employees reporting for duty. During the parade, the facility manager, with her team, announced that according to the procedures of the Department of Correctional Services, no employee is allowed to enter the premises with a hand or grocery bag unless it is transparent for everyone to see the items inside,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

While the Correctional Services staff were still at their morning parade, they were informed that everyone would be searched, to prevent the possibility of drug smuggling.

“As the search and seizure was carried out, the said warden reportedly tried to hide her handbag. However, she was noticed. She allegedly ran from the parade to her office where she hid her handbag and went out to another office,” said Mohala.

“Some of the members conducting the search then followed her to her office and could not find her. Instead, they only found her in another office. After being questioned on why she left the parade without permission, she allegedly indicated that she was rushing for her duties.”

Furthermore, the warden was asked about her handbag which she had hidden in her office, “but she could not ... she could not give a proper explanation” as to where the bag was.

“The team then searched her office and found a bag stashed with dagga weighing about 0.186 grams to the estimated street value of about R1 500, as well as a cellphone. Though the warden denied knowledge of the dagga, she was arrested and a case of illegal possession of dagga opened against her,” said Mohlala.

The warden is expected to appear soon before the Bethal Magistrate's Court.

Meanwhile,Provincial Commissioner of Police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant-General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the arrest and appealed to all law enforcement officials to always set an example in upholding the law.

Last year, a 37-year-old female prison warden appeared before the Witbank Magistrate’s Court for allegedly dealing in drugs. Tinyiko Claudia Mathebula, based at Paxton Correctional Services in Witbank, was arrested during a raid at her home in November.

At the time, Hawks provincial spokesperson in Mpumalanga Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said the court released Mathebula on R3 000 bail and postponed the case for further investigation.