Correctional Services spokesman Manelisi Wolela has denied allegations that student leader Mcebo Dla.
Desperate poverty drives its victims to desperate solutions.
Ask the zama-zamas toiling around Welkom in deadly conditions deep underground in disused mineshafts, or speak to the folk of Boekenhouthoek scrabbling for crystals around their village in Mpumalanga.
For good reason the law classifies them all as illegal miners. But they are willing to gamble their futures for a wad of rands in the here and now.
Unlicensed, uncapitalised and untrained in their new trade, they take their lives in their hands every time they set off for work.
They also wreak horrendous assaults on their environment that we and future generations of South Africans will one day have to repair.
But until we can provide honest jobs to honest people it is difficult to criticise citizens trying to eke a living out of the land.
No one can condone their activities and the authorities should enforce the law that protects our country for all its current and future generations. Yet until we give these people alternatives we must understand their drive to survive these hard times.
Recessions come and go for the wealthy, the poor hardly know the difference.
While politicians slip cronies million-rand tenders for no tangible public benefit, half of all South Africans still go to bed hungry most nights.
We don't need any more commissions, consultants, frameworks or task teams: we need jobs, now.
God bless Africa with abundant, decent jobs.