8 January 2013

South Africa: Ndebele Condemns Prison Riots

Pretoria — Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says riots by aggrieved inmates will not be tolerated and those instigating them will be dealt with firmly.

"Whilst the Department of Correctional Services is fully committed to the humane treatment of every detainee, acts of riots by inmates at correctional centres are not acceptable and will be dealt with firmly.

"The rehabilitation of offenders and secure, safe and orderly custody are two sides of the same coin. The balance between security, control and justice is paramount," Ndebele said.

His remarks come as inmates in the maximum security section of the Groenpunt Correctional Centre in Deneysville, Free State, set the unit on fire on Monday.

Damages, according to officials, amount to millions of rands. They include three administration offices that were completely burnt and destroyed, six cells extensively damaged as well as everything in the offices such as furniture and files.

Reports say the riot was sparked after prison management refused to take their grievances about prison health services and rehabilitation programmes seriously.

According to acting National Correctional Services Commissioner, Nontsikilelo Jolingana, the situation is now under control.

"Police are still investigating, and we call upon any person who has any information that may assist in this investigation to please contact the police. Anarchy in any form will not be tolerated," said Jolingana.

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