WATCH: Juvenile prisoners assaulted at Bosasa youth centre

2018-07-25 19:35
Screenshot of the incident.

Screenshot of the incident.

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News24 has acquired footage showing juvenile prisoners awaiting trial and sentenced prisoners being physically assaulted by security guards at the Bosasa Mogale youth centre in Krugersdorp.

The footage, which was taken on April 3, 2017, shows the teenagers being forced to take off their clothes and made to lie on the ground.

The security guards are seen assaulting the boys. One of the guards approaches one of the boys with what looks like a stopper gun, however, he is held back by his colleague. The men then continue assaulting the boys.

News24 has also learnt that the guards are a specialist team called the "Black Mamba".

Speaking to News24 on Wednesday, Bosasa spokesperson Papa Leshabane said the incident happened after a "hostage situation" at the facility.

"It took place at a time when there was a national Nehawu strike and we had accepted kids from the Walter Sisulu centre, over and above the ones we had.

"It is not like we woke up in the morning and started hitting kids. We were dealing with a very unfortunate situation," Leshabane said. 

He said about 45 boys stormed into the social workers' offices and held two staff members hostage. One of the staff members was pregnant at the time, he said. 

"The young men were armed with all sorts of garden implements and broke chairs and tables to arm themselves more. This unfortunate situation had the potential to quickly spiral out of control. A specialist team was called to assist.

"Behaviour management and intervention are the order of the day in our facility unless the situation dictates otherwise. We certainly do not advocate for the use of violence," he said.

Department to 're-examine' incident 

Leshabane said the specialist team is trained to handle situation outside the "normal scope". 

Meanwhile, the Gauteng department of social development, which gave the tender to Bosasa to run the programme, told News24 that in light of the footage it would approach the centre to "re-examine this incident".

The department's spokesperson, Mbangwa Xaba, said the department would not accept children being harmed in any form. 

He also confirmed that the incident happened after about 68 boys were sent to the facility from the Don Mattera and the Walter Sisulu centres.

"They were sent there for security reasons as they allegedly set these two centres alight.

"Within days at the centre, some of these young people rioted [and] they overpowered the staff and security. A staff member was also held hostage. The management of the centre deployed the tactical response team."

He said following the incident, MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza visited the centre to "satisfy" herself of the safety of both staff and the teenagers. 

"She was assured that the situation was brought under control. She interacted with children to establish if they were safe and all confirmed that they were well except a few who complained about visits by their parents or next of kin.

"Gauteng is a fit-for-children province and the GDSD (Gauteng department of social development) is the custodian of children. We shall not accept harm of children in any form. Children in our secure centres deserve to be treated fairly, with care and dignity," Xaba added.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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