Call for inquiry into prison riot

2013-01-08 14:36
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

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Prison on lockdown

2013-01-08 14:25

Officials have declared a lockdown at Groenpunt prison in the Free State after prisoners burned down sections of the facility. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - A full and independent commission of inquiry was needed into a riot in which Groenpunt prison in the Free State was set alight, the DA said on Tuesday.

"It is important that the root causes of the outbreak of this violence be determined," said Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe.

Prisoners refused to eat, then vandalised the facility in Deneysville on Monday, setting alight cells and offices and injuring four warders.

A total of 50 inmates were injured in police attempts to stop the riot.

Prisoners had complained about the quality of food and about some prison officials. They wanted a unit head to be fired.

"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 were allegedly the precipitate cause of the riot," said Selfe

Under control

The DA would ask the correctional services department to present a report on the matter to the portfolio committee when Parliament resumed.

Earlier, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said prison riots would not be tolerated.

"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," he said.

Correctional Services acting national commissioner Nontsikilelo Jolingana said the situation at Groenpunt was under control on Tuesday.

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