Statement issued by Bongani Msomi – UDM Secretary General

The Department of Correctional Service does not cease to amaze. In February this year, the Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane splurged more than R60 000 of taxpayers’ money treating prisoners at Leeuwkop (Midrand) to a KFC meal.

A week ago, Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa caused an uproar when she presented 30 laptops to inmates of the Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria (with 70 more laptops to be handed over to incarcerated criminals in future). What does tourism have to do with corrections? Besides, why give laptops and not stationary, locked-down computers in a laboratory setting? One wonders what the insurance payment for these laptops are, or does the Minister consider it a write-off?

The worst of these examples of a dysfunction correctional system, is the publicly available photos of what can only be described as a salacious strip show, that inmates at the Johannesburg’s Medium B prison had the pleasure to participate in – and that in the name of Youth Day!

This is wrong on so many levels, one does not know where to start. We hope that the Department of Corrections’ investigation gets to the bottom of this inappropriate event and that the organisers (especially if prison officials were involved) suffer some punitive consequences.

The UDM believes that imprisonment is not supposed to be a joy-ride. Yes, inmates should be given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, but such incongruent Government interventions do not make any sense. Instead of imprisonment being a crime deterrent, potential offenders will see these as perks of imprisonment; not only do you get a roof over your head and three meals a day, but you can eat take-aways, keep your Facebook profile updated and watch scantily clad women dance.

This clearly shows that the ANC-led government, with its departments, continue to dismally fail citizens.