Jail luxuries claim denied

2013-05-10 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Commissioner of Correctional Services Mnikelwa Nxele is spitting mad.

While major raids on Durban’s Westville prison have unearthed pornographic DVDs, knives, cellphones, drugs and even cash, he insists that no alcohol or DStv Walkas have been discovered in the jail.

Nxele was responding to comments by National Assembly correctional services committee chairperson Vincent Smith, who on Wednesday complained that Westville inmates were quaffing expensive cognac, while watching late-night British football on their Walkas.

Smith told prison officials: “We get calls at midnight, because some are related to us … [They say] ‘No, I’m sitting here with Hennessy and a DStv Walka and I’m watching Liverpool and Arsenal’.”

However, Nxele disputed Smith’s information.

“I have been in charge of this region for five years and I was responsible for major raids conducted in the provincial prisons.

“We have never found alcohol or DStv Walkas since I have been in charge,” said Nxele.

While he disputed the specific allegations, Nxele did not dismiss the possibility that inmates might be drinking alcohol inside the prison.

During a major raid in February, he said, “knives, cellphones, dagga, whoonga, mandrax, pornographic DVDs and cash” were discovered.

He also dismissed the reported comments of another prison official, Gcinumzi Ntlakana, who told MPs that statistics showed that KwaZulu-Natal prisons suffered most from gang activities, followed by the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

“To say that KZN is the capital of gangs in prison was also not true because this was prevalent in the Western Cape,” said Nxele. He acknowledged that there were challenges with gangsters in certain sections of Westville prison, but not on the scale suggested in Parliament.

Any alleged wrongdoing by inmates should be reported for investigation to the minister of Correctional Services and the national commissioner, he said.

Nxele said he had been in Cape Town and was not sure why, if KwaZulu-Natal was discussed, he had not been invited.

In his reaction, Smith said he stood by what he had said during Wednesday’s meeting. If Nxele had a problem with what was said, he had a right to raise it during the committee’s next meeting.

“I’m not going clarify the issue of alcohol in the media, but this would be discussed in the committee.”

Smith said the committee invited the Correctional Services Department, not individuals, to its meetings. It was up to the department to decide who it should send to appear before MPs.

Smith said the issue of KZN having the most gangsters in jails had been raised by a department official.

• thobani.ngqulunga

@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.