Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
4 Feb 2019
6:40 am

Modderbee correctional services manager accused of cover-up

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Sources claim personnel who championed the investigation of the head of the prison were dismissed or forced to resign.

A correctional services manager named in the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture as one of the beneficiaries of the Bosasa racket had prison workers fired to hide corruption at Modderbee Prison in Springs.

This is according to two sources who claim they were fired as prison warders at the facility on “trumped-up charges” after raising questions about the apparent corrupt behaviour of senior managers at the prison.

The company operated a catering service at this facility, among other services.

Named in the commission as Mkhabela (Jafta Mandla Mkhabela), the regional manager is accused of having quashed investigations into other senior managers and orchestrated the dismissal of whistle-blowers working at the prison, who were fired on charges related to swearing at a senior manager and insubordination.

Bosasa provided a range of services to the prison during the tenure of Mkhabela, area commissioner Nico Baloyi and then regional commissioner Zach Modise.

The pair is among several who have been fighting their dismissal from the prison at the labour court since 2014. This was also the year in which investigations into allegations made by prison workers were concluded, according to the department, and the accused managers were exonerated.

The workers said their woes began when they and several others began asking questions about the prison “club” which workers had to contribute a monthly fee towards.

This “club” became one of the subjects among corruption allegations concerning current and former senior managers at the facility. They questioned the credibility of the investigations conducted into allegations of abuse of state resources and abuse of funds from this “club”, supposedly used to build a R700,000 wall of remembrance for deceased prison warders.

According to one source, Modise instructed the departmental investigation unit (DIU) to investigate issues raised with him at a meeting of general staff.

“Most of personnel who championed the investigation of the head of the prison and area commissioner were dismissed or forced to resign. Mkhabela was appointed acting regional commissioner and he swiftly came to the defence of his embattled friend, Baloyi, and instructed that they return to their previous posts. He hatched charges against officials who complained about corruption.”

During a meeting with workers who raised questions about this and other transactions, Mkhabela threatened to have the workers fired.

Department of correctional services spokesperson Monama Mocheta confirmed the investigation concluded in 2014 and told The Citizen no senior manager had the power to interfere in a DIU investigation.

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