'Guilty' prison head escapes assault ruling

Norman Mkhwanazi escaped an assault charge after allowing the assault of new offenders.

Inmates inside Pretoria Central Prison on 30 April 2012. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

PRETORIA - The Department of Correctional Services on Monday said the head of Pretoria Central Prison was found guilty of insufficient leadership after being charged in connection with an assault at the facility.

But Eyewitness News reported that evidence obtained by internal investigators showed that Norman Mkwanazi assaulted inmates and then lied to cover up the attack.

The incident relates to a fight between offenders which took place in July 2012, where Mkwanazi and his subordinates got involved.

Correctional Services spokesperson Koos Gerber confirmed that Mkwanazi received a written warning for being guilty of insufficient leadership.

But Eyewitness News has seen the report which states that it was clear that a fight between offenders was over by the time Mkwanazi arrived in the section.

It found Mkwanazi authorised the use of unlawful and excessive force in which he was an active participant.

It also emerged that the head of the prison provided false and misleading information to investigators to create the impression officials were compelled to use maximum force.

Gerber could not explain this.

"I cannot comment whether he lied or not as I was not present at the disciplinary hearing. I do not know what evidence was presented."

Gerber did however commit to establishing why Mkwanazi was not found guilty on the charges recommended by investigators.