The Public Servants Association (PSA) defended a Youth Day event at the Johannesburg “Sun City” prison, which caused an uproar after photographs of scantily clothed dancers entertaining inmates went viral on social media.
The Department of Correctional Services suspended 13 employees last month following the reports that strippers were brought in as part of the day’s festivities.
But the PSA – which represented most of the suspended officials – said it was “unfortunate” that social media “took an innocent entertainment programme of the Youth Day celebrations at the prison and turned it into something ugly”.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the union said the public holiday was celebrated every year in prisons with various programmes.
This year was no different and there had been no deviation at “Sun City” from the programme submitted to and approved by the area commissioner.
It is unfortunate that what really happened with the dance number was (mis)construed by ill-minded individuals with their own agenda.
“PSA is in possession of the correct photographs which shows (sic) that the dancers were clothed in appropriate, suitable dancing attire (tights) and not half-naked as alleged.
“Individuals on social media often take such an innocent activity and then change and adapt the images to suit their own agendas while hurting innocent people in the process.”
Provincial manager of the union Monica Venter said it often happened that employers simply suspended and charged staff members for misconduct without first investigating and determining the real facts.
“This is done in order to satisfy the public and specifically, the social media public, that the employer is dealing with such kind of behaviour, while no grounds exist for the allegations.”