'Prisoners stripped and assaulted'
A prisoners' rights group has called on correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour to intervene over the "barbaric" conduct of prison warders who allegedly ordered 30 prisoners to strip naked in the presence of women warders.
Golden Miles Bhudu, president of the South African Prisoners' Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR) said the organisation was dismayed, shocked and outraged about reports that its members at Westville Prison were strip- searched "in the most barbaric and un-civilised manner".
"The method used at Westville Correctional Centre was barbaric, inhumane, un-cultural and degrading," he said.
Bhudu said that in addition to being stripped naked in front of female prison staff, prisoners had also been required to face the wall, open their legs and then push their fingers into their anus.
"Inmates who resisted following orders were brutally assaulted with the intention of causing grievous bodily harm," he said.
"Our members [of SAPOHR] are instituting criminal charges against the perpetrators," Bhudu said.
Bhudu said SAPOHR was not opposed to the campaign to stamp out smuggling of unauthorised substances into prisons, but it was opposed to the way in which it was implemented.
Human rights spokesman Kathy Govender said prisoners also had rights.
He said: "These are serious allegations and we are going to make sure that this matter is investigated.
"If the allegations are found to be true those responsible will be dealt with strictly."