Torture will not be tolerated, says minister

2011-07-20 21:39

Pretoria - An inmate who was allegedly tortured by warders at the Pretoria Central Prison received a visit from Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday.

In a statement released after the visit, Mapisa-Nqakula said she had wanted to see for herself how the alleged victim Jonas Makhufola was doing following his alleged ordeal.

Her visit follows claims that six warders at Pretoria Central Prison used an electrified riot shield to torture Makhufola on July 12, apparently in a bid to get him to reveal where he was hiding a cellphone.

A sound recording of what is claimed to be warders shocking the remand prisoner was smuggled out of the prison, and aired on Radio 702 earlier this week.

"I came to see for myself the condition of the alleged victim of torture by our officials. He is well and confirms that he is not suffering any form of pain nor injury," she said.

Not tolerated

Mapisa-Nqakula said that she could not comment until the outcome of the investigation but said any ill treatment of inmates, whether they have been sentenced or not, would not be tolerated.

Correctional Services spokesperson Phumlani Ximiya said earlier in a statement that action would be taken against any worker who contravened legislation or departmental policies.

"Any suspected criminal activity will also be investigated by the South African Police Service."

Ximiya was commenting on claims that six warders at Pretoria Central Prison used an electrified riot shield to torture a prisoner awaiting trial on July 12, apparently in a bid to get him to reveal where he was hiding a cellphone.

A sound recording of what is claimed to be warders shocking the prisoner was smuggled out of the prison, and aired on Radio 702.

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

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

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


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

The Democratic Alliance said it would raise the issue with Parliament's portfolio committee on correctional services when next it meets.

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

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

He said it appeared the practice had been going on for some time and that a number of people were implicated.

Ximiya said correctional officials were issued with items such as batons, handcuffs, leg irons, teargas and pepper spray, electric shields and stun belts to ensure a secure environment.

Use of the devices was properly regulated by policies and procedures. None of the equipment was intended to be used to torture an inmate.

"The department's white paper on corrections in South Africa is equally clear that offenders and remand detainees must be kept in a humane manner and that they must be treated with dignity and respect.

"The white paper... commits the department to maintaining universally accepted standards and norms with regard to the treatment of offenders and to achieving constructive relations and co-operation with the international penal community," said Ximiya.

  • Rygar - 2011-07-20 21:44

    Our minister is so out of touch with reality its frightening !

      subtle59 - 2011-07-21 08:30


      shagrance - 2011-07-21 09:30

      I agree with you on that one. This is the same minister who was once a minister of Home affairs and when Xenophobia broke ou she wanted to resign and on her statement she said her resignition has nothing to do with the Xenophobia she just needs to focus on her bussiness. When the Xenophibic attacks minimised she retracted her resignition and wanted to remain the Home affairs minister and I dont know what happened to focusing on her bussiness. She is so out of touch with the reality and when the seat gets hot she ducks. Our ministers are living in their own world and in that world the citizens are the last priority as long as them and their famillies are 'living the life'.

      TBOOZE - 2011-07-21 09:55

      lol do you give a criminal a cookie and milk and expect to reveal all ?

      cliffarc - 2011-07-21 15:22

      - Oh good - now can we please get rid of this torturous Anc government.

  • Obama Bin Laden - 2011-07-20 21:49

    But they'll tolerate murder, crime, corruption and general lawlessness

  • Creeky - 2011-07-20 22:02

    Same thing was said by the President about CORRUPTION.... and have you seen ANY RESULTS OR ACTION ........YET?????? Thought not! Neither will you!

  • Hot 'n Tot - 2011-07-20 22:10

    What about us citizens - we get tortured everyday with the governments crap - especially from the ANCYL!

      Macho Mike - 2011-07-20 23:12

      Eish, living under an ANC Government is Torture!

  • cgtours - 2011-07-20 23:05

    Gosh is she still alive this Minister? She should have been fired after her jaunt to Dubai with friends and children for a shopping spree that costs hundreds of thousands! of TAXPAYERS money - not her money. She gets fatter every day! These Parliamentarians must start paying their own airfares for holidays etc- you will note how quickly they jump from first class to economy class like us TAXPAYERS who have to fly economn y and pay for them in First Class nogal? What did they know about first class 17 years ago? and what about The Mount Nelson and One and Only nogal? - They still are not even earning their keep and their Salaries.Just shows , easy to waste and spend what you did not earn or work for! It is like leaving a disadvantaged child in a candy shop! Just run and grab! Shame! She will never be able to sort out any curruption either.!

  • Dave - 2011-07-20 23:10

    This is a nice article for the ANC to follow up. She is trying some trick to believe something is wrong. Why can't we in peace for a change.

  • noitall - 2011-07-21 06:28

    What she should say is she will not tolerate torture of criminals - the general public she does not give a flying ... about. It torture just to have to listen to her rubbish

  • - 2011-07-21 07:34

    Oh, wait - I get it: torturing a known criminal is a no-no, but torturing farmers, toddlers and innocent elderly people before killing them in cold blood is okay. This country is NOT real!!!!

  • ANCockup - 2011-07-21 09:55

    Looking at Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's fat feeding-trough bloated black face is torture in itself.

  • G-spotWizard - 2011-07-21 10:47

    Don't worry minister, Shrien Dewani is NEXT. Just bring him over and you will see what happens.

  • Spade - 2011-07-21 13:28

    Nice words, but probably lacking in substance. In the meanwhile, Dewani may never be tried for his alleged role in his wife's murder, because our police, judiciary and prisons do not make the grade.

  • Barry M - 2011-07-21 16:12

    Then best you ban Idols!

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