Two warders suspended for drug dealing in prison

Prison cell bars.
Prison cell bars.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

A cellphone seized from an inmate at the Baviaanspoort correctional services centre has revealed how two prison warders were behind illegal activities at the facility.

Two warders at the centre were suspended at the weekend after WhatsApp and text messages were found on an inmate's cellphone.

The inmate was apparently instructed by the two warders to move drugs and money inside the prison.

An insider at the correctional facility just outside Pretoria told Sowetan the two warders were suspended after a routine search of inmates led to the discovery of a cellphone.

"WhatsApp messages and text messages on the gadget revealed that two warders were in communication with him and giving him instructions of illegal activities inside the prison," said the insider.

"The messages involved movement of drugs, dagga and money inside the centre," he said.

The insider said the officers were then served with suspension letters and suspended with immediate effect.

"We have a lot of corrupt officials. That disturbs the rehabilitation process of the individuals because they continue doing illegal activities with law enforcement officials who are meant to be restoring order," he said.

Correctional services department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the matter was under investigation.

"Offenders are not allowed to have cellphones in their possession.

"The presence of any contraband in our facility, including cellphones, is an indication that there's contravention of policy by some officials. But the fact that from time to time we search and confiscate these contraband and sometimes arrest officials who work against the policy is an
indication that the majority of our
staff are hard working, committed and dedicated to their work," said Nxumalo.

He said should the investigation reveal that the suspended officials have committed the deed, they will be taken through a disciplinary process.

"We have consistently demonstrated that officials of this calibre have no place in the department.

"Anyone working for the department of correctional services ought to know that the safety of all people in SA should and will not be compromised," he said.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.