Photos showing what appeared to be female strippers performing in front of a group of inmates in a high-security prison in Johannesburg, South Africa, has stirred up outrage on social media in the past few days. In light of the scandal, the South African prison administration has threatened to suspend at least 13 prison guards.
The photos show at least two scantily-clad women, dressed in black leotards and tall leather boots, with men in what seem to be orange prison uniforms in the courtyard of a detention centre. Other prisoners watch the scene. In one photo, two women surround a prisoner, and seem to be undressing him. Many people shared the photos with the hashtag #PrisonStrippers, which was trending on South African Twitter on June 26, 2017. One popular Twitter account, The SA Crime Fighters, called the photos “an outrage and a slap in the face to victims of crime!”.
The tweet below references the fact that, in December 2007, President Jacob Zuma (leader of the African National Congress, or ANC, the party in power) was charged with 783 crimes, including corruption, fraud and racketeering. The charges were dropped in 2009.
For their part, the dancers in question have refuted allegations that they were “strippers” and have maintained they are professional “street dancers”. The man pictured in the second photo dancing with one of the women claimed to be the woman's father.
"A clear breach of security"
South African authorities admitted that the scene had taken place during a special day of events organised on June 21 in the Johannesburg's Medium B prison, popularly known as Sun City, and reputed as being the institution that houses some of the most dangerous criminals in South Africa.
During a press conference on June 26, Acting National Commissioner, James Smalberger, condemned the entertainment held during Youth Day celebrations, calling it “unacceptable” and “a clear breach of security”.
He said that at least 13 prison officials now faced possible suspension. He also said that money for the entertainment had not come out of the taxpayer's pocket.