Kokstad C-Max prison boss suspended for alleged nepotism

2014-03-05 00:00

THE area commissioner of the Ebongweni C-Max Prison near Kokstad, James Patrick Baxter, has been suspended.

Sources within the department said Baxter was suspended following allegations of nepotism.

It is alleged that Baxter employed his daughter. When the daughter was about to leave together with other trainees to Zonderwater Training College in Pretoria to start training on February 19, regional commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele ordered that the trip for the trainees be postponed.

The trainees, including Baxter’s daughter, had to turn back with their luggage. Nxele reportedly paid a visit to Ebongweni C-Max Prison the same day (February 19) and addressed staff about the postponement of the trip.

Sources said Baxter was nowhere to be found when Nxele addressed the staff.

Staff members said Baxter and Nxele were always close friends, and they were surprised at the turn of events.

Nxele confirmed that Baxter has been suspended, but declined to divulge the reasons for his suspension, saying it was an internal matter. He said he appointed Ntombizodwa Sibutha as the acting area commissioner for the prison.

Some sources said that Baxter was suspended because he questioned why half of the trainees had been recruited from other areas.

Baxter would not comment on his suspension, saying that Nxele was the best person to speak to.

The Ebongweni C-Max Prison caters for male offenders in the maximum security classification with behavioural problems and those identified as high security risk, including, amongst others, serial killers, serial rapists, armed robbery, convicted terrorists, notorious escapees and organised crime syndicates.

Prisoners in C-Max prisons are kept in single cells, 23 hours a day.

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