Thursday 2018-07-19

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‘WE ARE NOT PROTECTING SIPHO SHONGWE’

By Observer Reporter | 2018-02-14

HIS Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) Commissioner General Isaiah Mzuthini Ntshangase has refuted reports that his charges are protecting businessman Sipho Shongwe who stands accused of killing soccer boss Victor Gamedze.

Since Shongwe’s official arrest, journalists allegedly find it difficult to get his snapshot when he appears in court owing to the fact that correctional officers ‘shield’ him from the media, especially photographers.

Ntshangase made it clear that inmates were not animals, thus should not be exposed to unkindness adding that it is logical to ask for permission from the individual if one wants to take their picture.

“Officers are trained to carry out their duties and are executing nothing else but their duty. Things have evolved and people should familiarise themselves with international standards. You cannot compare things that were happening a decade ago to the way things are happening now. Inmates used to sleep on the floor with less blankets and eat unhealthy food, but now they have TVs, they sleep on beds, eat nutritious foods, have a right to call their relatives and friends. Their rights also entail asking for permission if you want to take a picture, get a directive from them before doing so,” he said.

Ntshangase said it was the mandate of the Correctional Services to treat inmates equally and they make every effort to do that.

“People are entitled to their opinions, but they should realise that times are changing and things are never the same. These imprisonment rights are outlined in the Mandela Rules of confinement and people should familiarise themselves with them so as to understand that we are doing things according to international standards,” he added.

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of prisoners were adopted by the General Assembly on December 17, 2015 after a five-year revision process.

They are known as the Nelson Mandela Rules in honour of the former South African president who spent 27 years in jail.

The revision focused on nine thematic areas including: prison health care; restrictions, discipline and sanctions; restraints; cell searches; contact with the outside world; prisoner complaints, and; investigations and inspections.

(additional information sourced from the internet)

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