Johannesburg – The Public Servants Association of SA (PSA) has claimed that viral pictures of strippers at a Johannesburg prison on Youth Day were manipulated.

The PSA, which said it represented the majority of the suspended Correctional Services officials, claim to be in possession of the “correct photographs which show that the dancers were clothed in appropriate, suitable dancing attire [tights] and not half naked as alleged”.

“Individuals on social media often take such an innocent activity and then change and adapt the images to suit their own agendas while hurting innocent people in the process,” the association said in the statement.

The Department of Correctional Services suspended 13 employees for the incident on June 16 after pictures of the alleged strippers entertaining inmates at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre went viral on social media.

The PSA could, however, not be reached to provide what they say are the original pictures.

“It is unfortunate that social media took an innocent entertainment programme of the Youth Day celebrations at the prison and turned it into something ugly. Youth day celebrations are celebrated every year in the prisons with various programmes.”

PSA said that a programme was submitted to the area commissioner and was approved for the public holiday.

“There was no deviation from the programme. It is unfortunate that what really happened with the dance number was construed by ill-minded individuals with their own agenda.”

The PSA’s Monica Venter said staff were suspended “without first investigating and determining the real facts”.

“This is done in order to satisfy the public and specifically the social media public that the employer is dealing with…while no grounds exist for the allegation.