Prison riots won't be tolerated - minister

2013-01-08 10:04


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Groenpunt 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

Pretoria - Riots instigated by inmates in prisons will not be tolerated, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Tuesday.

"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.

Ndebele said the rehabilitation of offenders, secure, safe and orderly custody were two sides of the same coin.

"The balance between security, control and justice is paramount," he said.

Warders injured

On Monday, prisoners at Groenpunt Correctional Centre in Deneysville, Free State, refused to eat and then vandalised the facility, setting alight cells and offices.

During the riot inmates attacked and injured at least four warders.

Police task teams entered the prison to try and quell the riot and a total of 50 inmates were injured.

The prisoners complained about the poor quality of food and about some of the prison officials. They also wanted one of the unit heads to be fired.

Meanwhile Correctional Services acting national commissioner Nontsikilelo Jolingana said the situation at Groenpunt was under control in the early hours of the morning.

"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," she said.

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