South African prison officials suspended 13 guards on Monday after women in black body suits and knee high boots were photographed cavorting with inmates in a steamy strip show at one of Johannesburg’s most notorious prisons.
Images circulated on social media show various guards standing watch as three strippers perform seductive dances and undress and embrace an inmate dressed in an orange prison overall at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre.
The jail, which houses some of some of the country’s most dangerous convicts, were circulated on Facebook on Monday.
Prison officials called a press conference to say that the photographs, taken at an event on June 21 are “authentic” and that those involved had been served with suspension letters.
Prisons commissioner James Smalberger said at a press conference that the officials include top management at the prison, which inmates jokingly refer to as “Sun City”.
“The form of entertainment as depicted on social media was not approved as it was not in line with the Department of Correctional Services’ policies and procedures, which are clear in terms of appropriate clothing behaviour when inside a correctional environment,” Mr Smalberger said.
The event was supposed to be part a “rehabilitation project” to commemorate Youth Day, when dozens of protesting school pupils were gunned down by the apartheid police in 1976.
Six items were approved Youth Day events but the female dancers was not cleared by the department, Mr Smalberger said.
“On behalf of correctional services, we would like to apologise to the citizens of South Africa for this incident, which is indeed disturbing.
“We will make sure that those found to be guilty face the full consequences of their actions, and measures will be put in place to make sure similar incident do not happen again.”
South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world with 500,000 people murdered in the country since 1994, according to the Institute of Race Relations.
The latest crime figures, released by the police, show that 14,333 people were killed in the country between April and December last year.