Prisoner wants privileges back

2017-02-19 06:00
Russel Ngubo. (Mark Wing)

Russel Ngubo. (Mark Wing)

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Pietermaritzburg - Jailed former prisons boss Russel Ngubo has gone to court to challenge his transfer to Kokstad’s C-Max maximum security prison for allegedly assaulting a pregnant warder at the Sevontein Prison Farm near New Hanover.

Ngubo, former head of Pietermaritzburg New Prison, claims in papers before the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, that it was, in fact, the warder who assaulted him.

Ngubo also claims that he was reclassified to C Group, or as a high-risk prisoner, by “a kangaroo court” at which he was not allowed to defend himself.

Logan Maistry, deputy commissioner for communications in the department of correctional services, said investigations into assault allegations against Ngubo were continuing and the outcome of the police investigation would determine further action.

He said the question of his parole was premature considering that he has “not completed the stipulated minimum detention period for his sentence as yet”.

Ngubo’s profile may only be submitted for consideration by the case management committee to the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board on October 21.

Ngubo’s court case is aimed at forcing the department to reinstate his A Group prisoner status, saying it would allow him to serve the rest of his sentence at Sevontein Correctional Centre, which is close to his home.

He said his family, who live in and around Pietermaritzburg, are unable to visit him in Kokstad.

Disciplinary steps

Ngubo was jailed in 2005 along with a group of ANC-supporting prison officials who used state vehicles and weapons in the assassination of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) induna Ernest Nzimande.

They also murdered IFP leader Nash Ndlovu, who was suspected of being involved in an ongoing war between the IFP and the ANC in Donnybrook.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, national prisons head Zach Modise has reinstated a senior correctional services official who was stripped of his master’s degree by the University of Zululand and is facing a Hawks probe as a result of the alleged qualifications fraud, according to a circular leaked to City Press recently. 

Last February, KwaZulu-Natal regional commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele placed Lawrence Jabulani Zikhali, the correctional services department area commissioner for Durban, on suspension following claims in The Witness newspaper that Zikhali and other officials had fraudulent degrees.

However, Modise intervened on Zikhali’s behalf, setting aside the suspension and disciplinary steps and, according to Nxele, advised Zikhali to withdraw his resignation, which he had tendered after allegations surfaced.

Maistry said the Zikhali matter would be heard in the labour court in Durban on Monday. 

Locked out of office

The department had also conducted periodic reviews of the qualifications of its staff and would co-operate with any such investigations, he said.

An official in Durban, who asked to remain anonymous, said Zikhali was locked out of his office and was using one that belonged to a personal assistant.

The university’s plagiarism appeals tribunal has not yet made a final decision on the Zikhali matter.

Read more on:    anc  |  ifp  |  hawks  |  pietermaritzburg

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