News24

No pictures allowed at Groenpunt jail

2013-01-17 14:37

Bloemfontein - The taking of photographs by the media during a parliamentary visit to Groenpunt prison in Bloemfontein was not allowed, correctional services portfolio committee chairperson Vincent Smith said on Thursday.

He was reacting to a report that Free State prison officials detained journalists, confiscated their equipment and deleted photographs of warders allegedly assaulting a prisoner on Wednesday.

The portfolio committee inspected the Groenpunt maximum security prison outside Deneysville, where inmates rioted last week.

"Journalist were asked not to take photos of the correctional facilities and of inmates," Smith said.

He said a prison official was stabbed by an inmate during the visit.

Smith said this happened at the end of a media briefing, while the parliamentarians were on their way to a meeting place at the facility.

Prison officials apparently stopped Smith and the committee members from entering the facility, for their own safety, and led them away from the commotion.

‘Inmate passed around, beaten’

Smith said the use of force by prison officials, as seen by journalists, might have been part of efforts to restore law and order during the stabbing.

The Star and The Times newspapers reported that journalists witnessed prison warders beating a prisoner on Thursday.

"Through the fence, we saw a mob of warders assaulting a man dressed in orange garb - apparently a defenceless prisoner - who squirmed and groaned in pain," reported The Star journalists.

"... We saw them passing the man around in a circle, brutally beating him."
News photographers took pictures.

Several journalists and photographers were later detained, body-searched and had their cellphones and cameras confiscated.

Smith said officials had acted within their rights.

"If [prison] officials had deleted photos of inmates and that which would compromise the security of the facility, they were within their rights," he said.

Smith said if it was true that prison officials had deleted other unrelated photos, this fell outside the agreement and was something for which the department of correctional services should answer.

Comments
  • compos.mentis.58 - 2013-01-17 14:58

    Shame... Vincent Smith, the issue is about "We saw them passing the man around in a circle, brutally beating him", do you then condone the assault that took place? Stay on the topic ... don't hide behind other issues.

      andre.vandeventer.16 - 2013-01-17 15:36

      The particular inmate that was assaulted knifed a prison warder. Some of these inmates are the scum of the earth and talking to does not help one bit. Violence is all these individuals understand!

      compos.mentis.58 - 2013-01-18 07:27

      Andre... you also do not get it. Even if they are the scum of the earth, you do not have the right to assault them. What type of logic are you using???

  • daryn.house - 2013-01-17 14:59

    so where is this place??? bloemfontein or deneysville?? bad reporting

  • keith.recore - 2013-01-17 15:05

    did the parmimentarians see the same thing? will the investigation reveal any of this from the witnesses?

  • Deon de Lange - 2013-01-17 15:17

    I fully understand a general lack of sympathy by citizens towards inmates, but such Gestapo tactics against inmates - who enjoy basic rights despite incarceration - and the harassment of journalists who report on such incidents simply don't belong in a constitutional democracy. And if Correctional Services did not already have a well-documented record of prisoner abuse (as condemned by a UN panel that investigated SA for these human rights abuses), one may be tempted to cut them some slack. But unfortunately this is not the case. Vincent Smith should rather be condemning such behaviour and ask the Mimister to account to Parliament about the goings-on in the department.

  • mnbain - 2013-01-17 15:24

    These pictures can and should be undeleted. Whatever happened to that buzzword of transparency. I see no way these photo's affect security other than that evidence of brutality is removed protecting officials from investigation.

  • kalabafazi - 2013-01-17 15:33

    Why all the sympathy for prisoners. They are not in a maximum security facility for shop lifting. Most of these prisoners are lifers and have absolutely nothing to lose so when they go on the rampage they don't eff about. They are tough guys and handling them with kids gloves is going to get you nowhere.

  • stefan.dupreez.71 - 2013-01-17 15:43

    There is no Groenpunt prison in Bloemfontein. In Bloemfontein thre is Grootvlei prison. Groenpunt is in Deneysville. Poor reporting.

  • mpho.gift.1804 - 2013-01-17 16:19

    That the same inmate earlier knifed a warder in full view of Vincent

  • abdulbaith.sayegh - 2013-01-17 17:23

    What bothers me the most, is the detention of journalists and the confiscation of their equipment. Moving swiftly to a dictatorship.

  • Modikoe.Elias.Ramongana - 2013-01-17 18:01

    Every place has its own laws,journalist think they can do as they want.There's somewhere where their rites are limited.Prisoners knows very well that warders use minimun or maximum force where necessary.

  • Bongs Dlamini - 2013-01-17 18:20

    I personal don't think tht who ever assaulted a prisoner was doing a right thing and even those who deleted the photographs were hiding something tht they act of assaulting a prison was unfogiven.In the Country no one is above the LAW of this Country.these prisoners were sent to jail to serve their time not to be treated like enimals, they r also human beings for God's sake. I hate those Warders who did tht to the inmates.

      john.wiggin.3 - 2013-01-17 19:47

      NO....THEY NOT HUMAN BEINGS.....THEY ARE KILLERS, RAPISTS, ETC....WHY SHOULD I WASTE MY TAX ON THESE ANIMALS....LET THEM RIDE THE LIGHTENING.

      John - 2013-01-17 20:10

      The prisoners broke the LAW. So the protectors now assume that they can commit crimes against them. This makes the protectors just as criminal as the prisoners! When the wheel turns full circlce they will be the prisoners! GOD protect us from the PROTECTORS!

      john.wiggin.3 - 2013-01-17 20:24

      Interesting.....you may let your God be the judge.....alas I wouldnt mind hitting a rapist/murderer in the face with my batton from time to time. Lets see how you stick to that when you in a situation of these animals turning on you or your family. Cruel.....but perspective is needed.....poor murderer got a blue eye....shame.

  • john.wiggin.3 - 2013-01-17 19:44

    I LIVE IN DENEYSVILLE AND DRIVE THOUGH VIA GROENPUNT EACH DAY. MY MOM ACTUALLY TAUGHT ART TO THE INMATES. BUT YES....THERE IS THE MAXIMUM FACILITY WHERE THERE ARE THE WORST OF THE WORSE....NOT SAYING BEATING AN INMATE IS JUSTIFIED BUT HELL.....WE DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE KILLED, RAPED ETC...IF A BEATING IS ALL THEY GETTING I THINK THEY LUCKY.

  • John - 2013-01-17 20:22

    SECURITY? Yes the security of the warders committing CRIMES! Protectors must simply follow their own protocol as enshrined in the constitution. If they do not then they become CRIMINALS no better than their prisoners. PROTOCOL! GOD protect us from the PROTECTORS!

      john.wiggin.3 - 2013-01-17 20:33

      ya....sounds so easy ne.....lets see you in maximum security with your god protecting you......and your ass!

  • John - 2013-01-17 20:35

    If the PROTECTORS cannot proudly display their actions then they must be afraid or ASHAMED of their behaviour! Thus they know it to be WRONG and CRIMINAL! Only do those actions you would proudly display on national TV! GOD protect us from OUR protectors!

      john.wiggin.3 - 2013-01-17 20:37

      Are you sending this dribble from inside your cell?

  • pages:
  • 1