“Spaces of authority: moving in and out of spaces of incarceration in Giyani”

My interest in popular understanding of the South African justice system, particularly the police holding cells in Giyani and the awaiting trial prison, was prompted by the arrest of Hlulani. He was arrested for robbing someone of their cell phone and went to the police holding cells before being released again after a short while. When he went into the police holding cells, officially speaking, his journey of “rehabilitation” had begun. At least officially, it is often propagated by officials and occasionally by members of the community that perpetrators of crime will get rehabilitated in prison. This was also echoed in a speech by Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele when he said that “The work of the Department of Correctional Services, since the advent of democracy and the White Paper on Corrections, is human rights centred. The White Paper on Corrections calls upon all of us to transform places of incarceration, to centres of hope and second chance.” (Patel, 2012). The minister further added that “For example, the name of the Qalakabusha Correction Centre, in Kwazulu-Natal, means a place to start over, or new beginnings, and is largely seen by the community where it is located as such.” This however fundamentally jarred with when I spoke to Hlulani ...
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts (Anthropology) in the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, 2020