8 January 2013

South Africa: Democratic Alliance Calls for Inquiry Into Groenpunt Prison Riot

press release

The Democratic Alliance joins the Minister of Correctional Services in condemning the riot and the violent behaviour that occurred at the Groenpunt Maximum Prison in the Free State yesterday. We express our sympathies particularly to the officials who were caught up in this violence.

It is important that the root causes of the outbreak of this violence be determined. There needs to be a full and independent inquiry into the matter to establish why this riot occurred, who were the instigators of the riot, and whether grievances by inmates that were allegedly the precipitate cause of the riot were attended to in terms of the Correctional Services Act and its regulations. Equally, the inquiry should determine whether there were security breaches that allowed the riot to occur, and which made it more difficult to quell.

We will be asking the Department to present a report on this incident to the Portfolio Committee of Correctional Services as soon after Parliament reconvenes as possible. The fact that the Speaker correctly rejected the request by the Committee to travel to Cuba on a "study tour" will enable the Committee to give priority to this matter.

James Selfe, DA Spokesperson on Correctional Services

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