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Female Prisoners Treated To Booze

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While the expectation is that His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) facilities restrict items entering establishments where prisoners are held, female prisoners at Sidvwashini have for over a month been treated to alcoholic beverages.

 

Revealing the anomaly which has been kept under wraps by high ranking officers within the correctional facility; junior officers stated how remnants of a night of bingeing were discovered recently when the tell-tale stench of stale alcohol gave the prisoners away resulting in a search for the person who allegedly brought it in.

“It was on opening the cell where the women are housed in the morning that the unmistakeable stench was sensed,” a source said.

Ordinarily, convicted women prisoners are transferred to Mawelawela where they then serve their sentences whereas those in Mbabane are those who are yet to be sentenced.

The handful of female prisoners who are remanded in custody while awaiting trial are said to have been thoroughly searched and threatened with assault resulting in them all pointing a finger at a high profile guest who has been resident at the correctional facility for over two months. 

The prisoners further pointed a finger at a high ranking female officer who they alleged was instrumental in breaching security and bringing in the prized alcohol.

“Following the discovery that alcohol was freely available, we assumed that something would be done, but we are shocked that this matter was swept under the carpet,” a junior officer said.

Further alleging that money could have exchanged hands thus enabling the liquor to be brought into the institution, the officer said they suspected that more could have been spread around for the matter to be silenced the way it had. 

When asked to elaborate on the alleged threats of assault, the officer stated that they were permitted to at times mete out punishment at the instruction of superiors on wayward prisoners.

He alleged that this was usually done on convicted prisoners and those on remand who have been resident in the facility for quite some time.

boozing

Concerning the alleged boozing incident, the junior officer said it was easy to take in prohibited substances  as junior officers are usually stationed as gate keepers of the establishment.

“Would you thoroughly search your superior and question them on what they are taking in,” he asked rhetorically.

Of note is that the matter has been hushed so well that only junior officers are willing to talk about it, albeit in anonymity.

Several senior officers not connected to the alleged incident, but who were said to be privy to it, declined to comment stating that they would never talk about anything that would put their institution in bad light.

“Only if you were talking about something that was done by the residents of the facility and does not taint other officers; then we would talk,” a senior officer who stays a stone-throw away from the facility said on Thursday afternoon. 

The junior officer relented that they at times do favours for prisoners in the event they have a relationship or have been asked to.

harmless

“It is usually harmless like calling relatives on their behalf in the event they don’t have money and cannot borrow from their cellmates,” the officer said adding that the assistance they give is usually harmless, of a humane nature. 

“Hence we frown upon the issue of a senior officer doling out booze,” he said.

On the other hand, when HMCS Public Relations Officer Assistant Commissioner Bongani Khumalo was called and asked about the incident, he said they would investigate the incident seeing as information about the alleged incident had not made it to headquarters.

He was called three times during the day yesterday and at each instance, he said he was failing to catch wind of any alleged incident related to alcohol. On the issue of alleged assaults, he said they were not aware that prisoners were assaulted.

“We trust that the officers always follow the laid out rules which frown on assault, hence we will investigate these allegations. 

evidence

“In the event we find concrete evidence that such takes place, the commissioner general will take appropriate action,” he said further expressing his disbelief that something of this nature could be taking place at any of their institutions. 

The reports that female prisoners have been getting alcohol is reminiscent of pictures which recently made rounds on social media showing prisoners from Johannesburg Medium-B Correctional Facility who were treated to an alleged strip-tease by street dancers who were invited to perform during Youth Month Celebrations. Despite having been invited, the nine minute show went on to shock the nation on its implication as scantily clad dancers were said to have entertained prisoners and officials alike. 

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