The South African Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has opened a criminal case after the alleged theft of an SD card containing images of former president Jacob Zuma being processed at the Estcourt prison.
Zuma was taken into police custody less than an hour before midnight on Wednesday after a night of high drama during which a phalanx of heavily armed police units was on its way to arrest the former statesman at his home in Nkandla in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma missed the court-ordered deadline to hand himself over, and police were on the brink of failing to meet their deadline to arrest him when he ultimately surrendered on Wednesday evening.
Not even a day after Zuma started his 15-month prison sentence, images of him in prison have surfaced on social media. The DCS alleged that a camera card, which contained the images, was stolen. Singabakho Nxumalo, the spokesperson for DCS said they were “appalled” by the distribution of the photos on social media which has since gone viral.
He said a criminal case had been opened after a camera SD card, containing images Zuma being admitted at the correctional centre was stolen.
“It has come to the attention of the Department of Correctional Services that images were stolen from a camera of the official who had been assigned to take photos for institutional filing purposes,” Nxumalo said in a statement.
“The SD card was removed from the camera and the matter is highly sensitive and is being investigated by both SAPS and DCS. The official involved has also been contemplated with a suspension notice. The first aspect of the internal investigation thus far has revealed that this SD card may have clandestinely been shared with a known broadcaster. The department will be approaching the relevant institutions for further action,” he added.
By Eric Knight