The Department of Correctional Services has detailed several cases of sex between officials and inmates reported, and in one of those it charged an official with rape.
The department briefed the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on the matter on Wednesday. In March, a video went viral of a female correctional official and a male inmate having sex at the Ncome Correctional Facility in KwaZulu-Natal.
Deputy Justice and Correctional Services Minister Phathekile Holomisa said there was an “unfortunate trend in the public domain, particularly on social media, of visuals of incidents of sexual conduct between officials and inmates”. He added this damaged the standing of the department.
“Whilst this has been embarrassing, to say the least, it has also been an opportunity for the department to further interrogate its systems, security detail, code of conduct and ethical behaviour in the department.
“Whilst some of these alleged incidents have proven to be authentic, it is true that some of them are certainly from the ranks of the department, and as such, we have had to take appropriate action. Even though such incidents are few and far between, the damage in terms of reputation has been done, and my view is that one incident is one too many.”
Holomisa said two officials had been summarily dismissed after the investigation into the “much-publicised video” taken at Ncome.
“The correctional official in the video and her colleague, who allowed her office to be used for sexual acts, were both dismissed. The sanctions were implemented following a disciplinary process.
“The inmate involved has been reclassified into the maximum category and subsequently moved to another facility and has lost his privileges. He is serving a life sentence.”
He added there was another incident in the Free State where a female official had sex with a male offender. After an inquiry, the official was dismissed. The chief deputy commissioner for human resources, Cynthia Ramulifho, said there was another incident in KwaZulu-Natal involving a male official and a female offender, and one in Gauteng involving a female official and a male offender.
Both these disciplinary cases are still pending. National commissioner Arthur Fraser said a male correctional officer who had sex with a female inmate in KwaZulu-Natal was charged with rape.
“So, he is criminally charged with rape while there is a disciplinary process in place there, because we feel that the offender [the female inmate] is vulnerable, so we are moving from the perspective that it is more serious than consensual.”
He added there was also a case where a male police officer impregnated a female who was in remand. The sexual act happened outside of the correctional facility. Fraser said the police was dealing with the disciplinary process.