Govt urged to fast track torture bill

2011-07-20 13:24

Johannesburg - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Wednesday urged the justice department to fast track the combating of torture bill to comply with its international obligations and prohibit acts of torture.

"Currently, the act of torture is not a recognised statutory crime in South Africa," said commission spokesperson Vincent Moaga in a statement.

"Torture legislation is needed [so] that the criminal justice system can deal more effectively with acts of torture."

The comments come after the correctional services department and police launched an investigation into the conduct of six warders, accused of shocking a prisoner with an electrified riot shield at the Pretoria Central Prison.

The probe was initiated after a sound recording of what is claimed to be warders shocking a prisoner was smuggled out of prison and aired on Radio 702.

Prisons’ dept doing internal probe

Police spokesperson Wanda Olivier told the broadcaster a case of assault had been opened and that arrests were imminent.

Olivier was not immediately available for comment.

Correctional services spokesperson Phumlani Ximiya said an internal investigation was underway.

The Democratic Alliance condemned the incident, and said it would raise the issue with the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services when next it meets.

"The use of any form of torture is completely unacceptable," said MP James Selfe in a statement.

"It simply brutalises inmates...and makes their reintegration into society more difficult."

He said torture of inmates was likely to evoke violent responses.

"From the information at our disposal, it would seem that this was not an isolated incident...that the practice had been going on for some time, and that a number of people were implicated," he said.

  • MandlaSithole - 2011-07-20 13:33

    I'm positive the torture bill will not come as fast as the info bill. They will tell us they are still trying to define "International obligations".

      DAB - 2011-07-20 13:37

      @ Mandla. Love it!

  • Advocate - 2011-07-20 13:42

    I hope the following methods were included in the list of torture, telesales, long queues at home affairs and SARS, holding on for TELKOM call centre, expecting a call back from Jo'burg City and some others

      DAB - 2011-07-20 13:48

      @ Advocate. Definitely not, or otherwise they would be reported to the International Criminal court for abuse.

      Carbon - 2011-07-20 16:00

      Haha...I will sign such a bill

  • Johnny - 2011-07-20 13:48

    i am not condoning the action but what promted it in the first place, and the fact it was recorded indicates to premeditation

  • Azizi - 2011-07-20 13:51

    SAHRC your international commission never complained about george w and his water boarding methods.

  • Vrisbaba - 2011-07-20 14:31

    To be clear here...have we gone so far down the mental drain in our thinking that we actually need a LAW in order to prevent torture? Are you freak'ing serious?! Can't we just NOT TORTURE people? For F sakes! Mark my words, we are going to destroy our country all in the name of political correctness. Common sense people, common sense...wake up!

  • Dan - 2011-07-20 14:34

    Government needs it to protect themselves from future prosecution and unlikely, but worthy, jailtime.

  • Bluescreen - 2011-07-20 21:39

    When has any African government honoured any bill ? What they say and what they do, are, and always will be, two different things. Eg. The ANC promised us a decent, accountable government, free from corruption, nepotism, and other forms of crime. What have we actualy got ?

  • jana - 2011-07-20 23:36

    "Torture legislation is needed [so] that the criminal justice system can deal more effectively with acts of torture." to protect who??? The criminals who steal, rape and murder for the fun of it?? Who have no problem to rape and murder a 93year old or a baby of 1? Who have no problem shooting you if you do not give them your hard earned money? Oh, yes please.. they do need much more protection, hurry up with that bill !!

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