S. Africa Prison Gangs Use
AIDS Rape As Punishment


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African prison gangs are using HIV infection as punishment, ordering gang members carrying the AIDS virus to rape disobedient inmates in a ritual known as "slow puncture," officials said Thursday.
A spokesman for the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons confirmed that the new practice first came to light about six months ago and was believed to be spreading.
The inspectorate's director Gideon Morris told a government commission on Wednesday that the rape would be carried out by one person, or sometimes several.
"They give him a 'slow puncture', meaning he will die over a period of time," Morris said. "It's a new phenomenon."
South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with about 4.8 million people, or one in nine of the country's population of 42 million, infected with the virus which causes AIDS.
Morris' testimony on the ritual was put before the Jali Commission, an inquiry board set up last year to look into allegations of corruption and mismanagement in South Africa's prison network.
Department of Corrections spokesman Russel Mamabolo said department officials could not comment, and would await the commission's findings before mounting their own investigation.
"This information is still allegations at this stage," Mamabolo said.
The opposition Democratic Alliance issued a statement Thursday calling on the government to provide all prisons with anti-retroviral drugs to treat HIV infections -- in part to reduce health costs.
"At the very least, prisoners who are raped should have access to anti-retroviral treatment to prevent them from getting infected with the HIV virus. However, it also makes sense to prevent HIV-positive prisoners from developing full-blown AIDS," said Mike Ellis, the party's spokesman for correctional services.
The South African government has been criticized for its reluctance to provide universal access to anti-retrovirals, citing safety and cost grounds.
Morris said it was difficult to say whether AIDS was now the chief cause of death in South African prisons, noting that many prisoners who die of AIDS are listed as dying of natural causes.
He did note, however, that the number of inmates dying of natural causes in jail has risen sharply over the past seven years, jumping from 186 in 1995 to 1,169 last year.
South Africa currently has about 179,000 people in prison, making it second only to the United States in the number of inmates per capita.
From Jan Lamprecht
Southern Africa in Crisis AfricanCrisis.Org
Note - A new comprehensive AIDS report has come out. 40% of all deaths in the country are caused by AIDS. Some propagandists try to portray this as a good thing, since accidents, etc, kill more people than AIDS. They are trying to pretend that AIDS has little effect. THE CITIZEN newspaper however said that all the statistics prove that the "AIDS war is being lost". The following article is an example of what is happening in our overcrowded prisons. If we had work gangs and those prisoners were working their butts off all day long they wouldn't have time for nonsense like this. Anyway, we need the death sentence in this country. Violent crime is out of control. Just yesterday we were treated on national TV to film footage showing some black robbers shooting a black man in the chest while stealing his car. The victim died. What a disgusting state of affairs. This country is run like a cesspool. -- Jan


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