Sonke Gender Justice has dismissed a fake letter bearing its logo that is purportedly circulating within correctional centres, particularly Westville Prison in Durban.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday, Sonke says the supposed letter calls on inmates who test positive for Covid-19 to inform their next of kin to sue the department of correctional services (DCS).
The “letter” also speaks to parole decisions being made by the National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS).
The group has dismissed the letter.
“The letter is framed in unacceptably disparaging terms. Sonke unreservedly denies authoring the letter, providing permission for the use of our logo, or authorising the circulation of this letter,” the statement read.
“We do not condone the content contained in the letter and Sonke would also like to state that we do not know the identity of the author, ‘advocate Mantombi S Ntombela’.
“While Sonke remains concerned about the health of South Africa’s incarcerated persons, we acknowledge that there are appropriate processes for addressing this – in a way that supports DCS staff and protects the safety of detainees.”
Sonke considered letters such as the fake one being circulated, as well as any instigatory calls by organisations to be reckless and counter-intuitive.
“We call on whoever is behind this fake letter to desist from such a practice, which is likely to expose inmates into more vulnerability at this critical time.
“Sonke will also be communicating the same message to the DCS, and will continue to offer our support during these trying times,” it added.