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‘Gates of Pleasure’: Inside South Africa’s Notorious Prisons

A recent video of a prisoner and a female warden enjoying a sneaky moment of intimacy that has sent the internet vibrating nonstop, is just...

A recent video of a prisoner and a female warden enjoying a sneaky moment of intimacy that has sent the internet vibrating nonstop, is just a drop in the ocean, considering past excesses.

In the visual, the two culprits confine themselves to a secluded room. During the stealthy act, the male inmate seems to be aware that the unlawful act was being captured, as he constantly looked in the direction of the camera. 

The female accomplice is however unaware of the recording.

By @Comic24Derick

The correctional department’s spokesperson Sibgabakho Nxumalo told radio 702. “The investigation is much broader than two people seen on the video because we need to understand if it is just an isolated incident or if there is more to it and if there are other players.”

Reports of prisoners and their handlers going bonkers are documented by various media outlets, and the recent incident reveals the extent of rot inside the correctional services department.

In 2020, the official capacity of the South African prison system was 118,572, however, the actual holding capacity stood at 124 percent. 

Prison conditions are classified as dire, dominated by overcrowding, inadequate ablution facilities, shortage of bedding, insufficient supervision.
The Prison Video that has Sent the Internet Vibrating 
Sexual violence is reportedly high but underreported, disease transmission including HIV and TB. HIV prevalence in prison populations is estimated at 15.6 percent, three times more than the general population.

Lack of observation could have escalated incidences of ruthless behaviours amongst inmates. At one stage, prisoners even called the then correctional services minister Michael Masutha using their contraband devices.

“I will be lying if I say I never received a call by one or two inmates, calling from a cellphone from a correctional centre and wanting my intervention on various complaints,” the minister revealed. 

 Cellphones are banned in South African prions, and possessing them is in breach of the law. In 2015 alone, 6,500 communication devices were, including internet modems.

Sting operations conducted by the department at Baviaaspoort in Pretoria, Boksburg, and Johannesburg correctional centres confiscated various amounts of contraband drugs. Some of the incidences resulted in action taken against 3,847 officials for various acts of misconduct.

Of these, 128 were dismissed while 2,743 were issued with warnings. Between April 2017 to March 2018, 99 officials were suspended without pay.

Prisoners were treated to ‘strippers’ in 2017 at Sun City prison, irking the authorities. A correctional services commissioner said then, “We can never tolerate what we have seen on social media since Saturday.” 

Thirteen prison officials were under investigation, he added. 

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