JOHANNESBURG – Pictures have emerged on social media where a Losperfontein Correctional Centre employee is seen to be intimate with a prison inmate.
The incident has caused the employee to take her own life on Monday morning and a suicide case had been opened.
Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said it is unclear how the pictures were shared and who shared them.
He further stated that in the case of the inmate involved, an investigation is underway to indicate the violations and to recommend sanctions.
“The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has been made aware of images involving an official and inmate, from Losperfontein Correctional Centre, in an intimate position circulating on social media,” Nxumalo said.
“As this is disturbing and strictly prohibited, the department condemns this type of behaviour in the strongest possible terms.
“Whilst DCS was busy investigating this matter, we have since learned with shock that the official allegedly appearing on the images has committed suicide.”
Regional Commissioner Mandla Mkabela has expressed grief and sadness at the incident.
”On behalf of DCS, we want to convey our condolences to the family and colleagues of the deceased official,” said Mkabela.
“We have dispatched a team of senior managers and our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) specialists to provide necessary support.”
Four pictures showing the unidentified female prison warder from the Losperfontein Correctional Service Centre near Brits in North West posing in uniform with a male prisoner were shared by Facebook and Twitter users yesterday.
This was brought to the department’s attention which later confirmed in a statement that the prison warder had committed suicide.
The department said it had launched an internal investigation into the matter. The regional commissioner for North West, Mandla Mkhabela, said they had “learnt with shock” that the warder committed suicide as they were investigating the images.
Mkhabela said the behaviour of engaging with inmates in that manner was not allowed. “This is disturbing and strictly prohibited. The department condemns this in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
In one of the images, the two are seen kissing in a picture that seems to have been taken by the male inmate.
The pictures were seemingly taken by cellphone, but it’s unclear where they were taken.
Sowetan has learnt that the warder was found hanging at her place of residence in the staff quarters at the prison.
The SA Depression And Anxiety Group operations director Cassey Chambers said: “With social media anything goes viral so quickly and you find people who have no relation to the matter making comments and sharing it. That puts on added pressure and cyberbullying. as it could be a last straw. Maybe she thinks there would be an impact on family.”