Nxele: ‘Ex-jail boss is not my friend’

2017-01-26 10:12
Prison commissioner denies special treatment for Ngubo.

Prison commissioner denies special treatment for Ngubo. (Ian Carbutt)

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Provincial prison commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele has denied allegations that he ensured convicted former Pietermaritzburg prison boss Russel Ngubo received preferential treatment.

There have been multiple allegations of Ngubo receiving “special treatment” while serving time, because of an alleged friendship between him and Nxele.

Ngubo, a former Stoffelton ANC branch chairperson and former Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union secretary, is serving a 25-year prison sentence for the murder of two IFP members in 1995.

The former Pietermaritzburg prison boss, who began serving his sentence in 2005, has jumped between multiple prisons such as Westville Prison, Kokstad’s C-Max prison and Sevontein Prison in Pieter­maritzburg.

He was moved late on Monday night from Servontein to Kokstad C-Max, following an alleged assault on a pregnant prison official last Wednesday.

It is alleged that Ngubo was waiting for visitors and had called out from his cell for assistance.

The pregnant official was allegedly delayed in responding to Ngubo, who then began arguing with her.

Ngubo then allegedly threw the official’s lunch box at her.

A source, who could not be named, said the usual process following an assault of a prison official by an inmate was that the inmate was transferred to another prison three to four hours after the incident.

The source claimed that Ngubo was transferred to C-Max several days after the incident due to his alleged friendship with Nxele.

In 2015, The Witness reported that Ngubo had allegedly assaulted a prison warder at Sevontein Prison.

Cases of assault had been opened by both Ngubo and the prison warder he is alleged to have assaulted.

Another source said Ngubo had not been held accountable as he “is the most feared inmate because of his connection to regional commissioner Nxele”.

“He is untouchable inside the prison,” said the source.

Yesterday, in an exclusive interview with The Witness, Nxele said he was “never friends” with Ngubo, slamming allegations that the prison head-turned-inmate had been receiving special treatment.

Nxele said they had launched an investigation into the incident, with Ngubo sent to C-Max pending the outcome.

He said he had known Ngubo since 1986 when he first joined the Department of Correctional Services. He said Ngubo had been an instructor at the college in Pretoria while he was studying.

He said he two had worked together and were comrades in the early 1990s when Popcru was formed, but Nxele left for Johannesburg in 1995 to work full time for the union.

When Nxele came back to KZN in 2007, Ngubo had already started serving his 25-year sentence, he said.

“When he was outside [prison] he was not my friend. He has never been my friend,” said Nxele. “Twenty years later, the accusations still stand.

“When he was an instructor and I was in college he was hostile.

“He called us all kinds of names and dished out punishment,” he said.

Nxele said Ngubo had had his daughter visit him in the Sevontein Prison’s conference room for security reasons. This was normal practice for inmates who were former members of the police, of the Defence Department and Correctional Services, he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  prison

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