SOURCES at Krugersdorp Prison allege that the authorities are colluding in covering up the "gross negligence" that might have led to a gang-raped awaiting-trial prisoner committing suicide.
Sowetan reported last week that Mahlaba Ntsoane, 23, of Kagiso on the West Rand, was found hanging in a prison cell.
Before his mysterious death Ntsoane, who was arrested a week earlier for allegedly stealing a cellphone, told prison authorities he had been gang-raped by five inmates.
He was immediately examined by medical officers at the prison.
Now the head of the prison could find himself in hot water after he allegedly ignored doctors' recommendations to take the human resources student to the Leratong Hospital for counselling and further medical attention.
Concerned prison employees told Sowetan yesterday that prison head Blessing Madondo was told of Ntsoane's condition but "failed to take the necessary steps".
"Madondo ordered that the boy be retained overnight in a communal cell despite his desperate need for counselling," said a prison employee who did not want to be named. "His excuse was that there were no vehicles to take him to hospital."
Another prison service employee said: "What was expected of Madondo was to follow procedure and take the prisoner for counselling."
These employees say they are worried that Ntsoane's family might never know the truth about their child's death.
It is alleged that Madondo overlooked the department's internal investigator and instead insisted that one of his subordinates, Nduduzo Buthelezi, handle the probe.
Madondo allegedly saved Buthelezi's job last year when prisoners got hold of his service pistol.
"Buthelezi had asked prisoners to wash his car with his gun in the cubbyhole," an informant said.
"One of the prisoners decided to hand the gun over to management. Though Buthelezi had committed a dismissible offence, Madondo let him get away with a written warning. Buthelezi might be returning that favour by covering up for him."
Correctional services spokesperson Manelisi Wolela said the department had informed the judicial inspectorate of correctional services and police "so they can institute independent investigations".
If there is evidence of a cover-up drastic steps will be taken".