The incident reportedly took place at Johannesburg's Medium B prison, also known as 'Sun City, ' a notorious prison which houses some of the country's most unsafe inmates, including rapists and murderers.
He said the department is now investigating reports of the images circulating on social media of ladies dressed in what looks like underclothes seen to be entertaining inmates at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre.
According to the findings on the preliminary investigation, the event was in line with June's youth-month celebrations on June 21.
Scantily dressed women in thigh high boots were seen grinding with inmates.
Smalberger said the prison regularly held recreational activities for the inmates, but the exotic women were not part of the approved programme.
At least 13 officials now face suspension over the "strip" show.
"The intention was never to have strippers in the facility‚" Acting National Correctional Services Commissioner James Smalberger told a news briefing.
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Smalberger said the investigation had been given a tight turnaround time and that a progress report was expected by Friday.
The department dismissed allegations of taxpayers' money being used to pay for the inmates' Youth Day celebrations.
"The management of the event should have never allowed and immediately halted this type of entertainment".
People on social media were unimpressed, to say the least.
"On behalf of the Correctional Services, we want to apologise to the citizens of South Africa", said Smalberger. "This type of conduct is unacceptable, particularly in a correctional facility where security is of paramount importance".
The department added there was a "clear" breach of security plans approved for the event, but some officials obviously made a decision to go against them.