When it first emerged that the Department of Correctional Services hired strippers for prisoners, many dismissed the explicit images as fictitious.
Others suggested that the pictures were from a movie scene shot at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre.
Generally, we waited for the Department of Correctional Services to issue a statement and describe the explicit images circulating on social media as unreal, fabricated or fake.
But then, the department went the other way and confirmed the authenticity of pictures.
However, it’s not as though the Department intentional hired strippers for Prisoners. The Department in a media briefing explained how the unusual event happened.
The Department’s media statement on the issue was presented by its Acting National Commissioner Mr James Smalberger at Johannesburg Correctional Centre. The following is everything Mr Smalberger said:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon, and many thanks for joining us at this media briefing today.
Following reports of illicit images circulating on social media over the past few days, where ladies, dressed in what looks like underclothes, are seen to be entertaining inmates at Johannesburg Correctional Centre, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), on Saturday (24 June 2017) when this was brought to our attention, we immediately initiated an investigation into this serious matter.
The Department condemns this incident with the contempt that it deserves, and, right at the outset, we want to make it abundantly clear that we will leave no stone unturned in dealing with this matter.
The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Honourable Adv. Michael Masutha, further directed that I, as Acting National Commissioner, together with other senior managers of DCS, report to Johannesburg Correctional Centre first thing this morning to be briefed on the outcomes of the preliminary investigation.
We arrived at this centre at 7 am today, together with the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Minister, where we received a briefing from the senior management team led by the Acting Regional Commissioner of Gauteng as well as the Acting Area Commissioner.
According to the report we received on the preliminary investigation, the pictures taken were of an event hosted, in line with the June Youth Month Commemorations, on 21 June at Johannesburg Medium B Correctional Centre. It involved external stakeholders, part of the programme included entertainment.
However, it transpired that the form of entertainment, as depicted on social media, was not approved as it was not in line with DCS policies and procedures, which are clear in terms of appropriate clothing and behaviour when inside a correctional environment.
The management of the event should have never allowed, and immediately halted, this type of explicit entertainment, as pronounced by our policies.
Therefore, there was a clear breach of the security plan that was provided for the event as well as other relevant policies and procedures. 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.
The investigation is being led by a senior official at the level of Director, who is not from Johannesburg Correctional Centre. Following today’s briefing on the preliminary investigation, the next report-back is scheduled for this Friday (30 June) where we will also be given an indication as to when the investigation will be completed. Minister Masutha will be briefed accordingly.
On behalf of DCS, we want to apologise to the citizens of South Africa for this incident which, indeed, is very disturbing.
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.