Cape Town – A Durban man who was jailed for the brutal assault of his partner in 2012 has shown that flaws remain in the security system of South African correctional services.
Michael Padayachee was sentenced to 24 years behind bars for kicking and punching in the head the mother of his child. He also left his own child, 17-months-old at the time, badly bruised after throwing her over a wall.
In 2013, investigators probed how Padayachee managed to harass the woman through social media and by phone while he was an awaiting-trial prisoner, The Times reported.
But it seems as if prison authorities have yet to stop the man from gaining access to internet-enabling devices.
A Facebook profile for Padayachee, active since July last year, shows a selfie of him wearing a huge gold watch and he has 81 friends.
In November 2015, he complains that his account was hacked and in December shares a petition to unseat President Jacob Zuma.
Several attempts by News24 to get comments from Justice and Correctional Services spokesperson Manelisi Wolela on the matter went unanswered.
Padayachee, an inmate at Durban’s Westville Prison, is just one example of an ongoing problem within the country’s correctional services.
In December 2015, prisons across the country were raided and, at Westville alone, 149 cellphones were found, according to eNCA.
Deputy Correctional Services Minister Thabang Makwetla said at the time that the amount of cellphones found is a huge success but also a massive embarrassment to authorities.
"The amount of cellphones that we have found in this hour is a huge success, but at the same time, an indication that we must still do more as the department to reduce the problem," News24 quoted him as saying.
Wolela told The Times on Sunday that the department is now using “state-of-the-art technology to detect cellphone activity in high-risk facilities”.
However, it should be noted that the issue of contraband cellphones is not unique to South Africa and is so common in the US that Facebook set up an "Inmate Account Takedown Request" page, The Atlantic reported.