Pollsmoor kitchen 'filthy'

By Drum Digital
24 October 2012

Inmates at Cape Town's Pollsmoor prison are eating from dirty pots, an independent prisons visitor told Parliament's correctional services portfolio committee

on Wednesday.

Briefing MPs on conditions at the jail, Thamie Mlenzana said the kitchens remained filthy despite several complaints over the past two months.

The kitchen is run by the Bosasa group of companies, which had its contract to provide food and maintain kitchens at several South African prisons extended earlier this year.

"It's dirty, even the Bosasa side is also dirty, and you'll see flies inside the kitchen... that is inhumane," Mlenzana told the committee.

The Bosasa tender has been tainted by allegations of a corrupt relationship between the company and former senior officials.

Mlenzana said because she did not have any significant powers, she was compelled to complain to the head of the correctional centre and the area commissioner, both of whom had done nothing to change the situation.

Mlenzana also complained about the Medium B section being 100 percent overcrowded.

"The place is very old and... when it's raining the place is wet."

The other major obstacle Mlenzana found was the presence of gangsters.

"Gangsterism is... worse in Medium B, where members [warders] are attacked by gangsters and even we don't feel safe," said Mlenzana.

ANC MP Vuselo Magagula said conditions at Pollsmoor and the prevalence of gangsters, which had been shown on television screens globally, embarrassed the country.

MPs resolved to consider strengthening the hand of independent prison visitors to ensure they could compel prison managers to improve conditions.

-SAPA

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