Durban prison boss suspended over alleged cocaine party

03 July 2019 - 15:11 By Orrin Singh
A screenshot of a video which went viral last month. In it Ruwain Meer, an inmate at Durban's Westville prison - serving a life sentence for murder - can be seen snorting a white substance.
A screenshot of a video which went viral last month. In it Ruwain Meer, an inmate at Durban's Westville prison - serving a life sentence for murder - can be seen snorting a white substance.
Image: Supplied

A senior manager for corporate services at Durban's Westville prison, Dunraj Mohan, has been suspended following two viral videos which emerged last month.

The decision was made public during a press conference in Cape Town on Wednesday in which minister of justice and correctional services Ronald Lamola provided feedback on a number of irregularities which had taken place at certain facilities.  

Lamola noted that the first video, which shows correctional service officials instigating a fight among inmates by supplying them with security equipment, took place in July last year. 

"The first incident took place on July 29 2018 and there was action taken by the then acting head of centre, Ms Ndlovu NJ, who issued contemplation letters to the officials involved. It was on August 3 2018 that these officials were eventually suspended, pending finalisation of the investigation."

He said, however, this suspension was uplifted on October 23 2018 and the implicated officials were alternatively placed so they could not work directly with inmates.

"From the evidence gathered, it has been found that the investigation was conducted and submitted to the delegated authority for approval and sadly, nothing was done beyond that."

Lamola identified the inmates in the second video, who can clearly be seen snorting a white substance, as Sanele Nyalane, who is serving a 15-year sentence for robbery with aggravating circumstances, Ruwain Meer, serving life imprisonment for murder, and Langa Gumede, who is serving 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

He said the incident occurred on June 14 and, following the emergence of the video, a search operation was conducted in the identified cell, where contraband was found.

"Some of the confiscated items include 41 tablets of mandrax, 334 slopes of dagga, seven packages of dagga, six cellphones, four cellphone chargers, eight earpieces, four sim cards, R23 cash, one smoking pipe and one memory stick."

He said Nyalane, Meer and Gumede had since been transferred to the only ultramax correctional facility in SA, eBongweni (C-max) prison in Kokstad.

"Both of these investigations have revealed that there was a complete dereliction of duty and, or, maladministration at the Durban management area. As a result, the national commissioner has recommended that the senior manager responsible for corporate affairs, Mr Mohan, be placed under suspension."

He said Dumisani Makhaye had been appointed as the acting area commissioner and was expected to bring about stability and ensure that operations run optimally.

Lamola added that by the end of this month the following facilities would have full body scanners to combat smuggling:

• Durban (Westville) correctional facility
• St Albans correctional facility
• Johannesburg correctional facility
• Kgosi Mampuru II correctional facility
• Pollsmoor correctional facility
• Barberton correctional facility
• Groenpunt correctional facility


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