Prisoners' behaviour appalling - Popcru

2013-01-08 16:11
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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50+ injured in prison fire

2013-01-08 08:41

At least nine warders and 50 prisoners were injured when inmates torched a section of the Groenpunt prison in the Free State.WATCH

Johannesburg - The behaviour of prisoners who set alight Groenpunt Prison in the Free State is appalling, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said on Tuesday.

"Popcru is appalled by the lack of respect for law and order demonstrated by the prisoners, who caused damage to facilities during their rampage and injured other inmates and prison officials," said Popcru spokesperson Theto Mahlakoana.

"The union understands a small number of inmates were demanding to be transferred to other prisons and the situation got out of hand when others joined in with more demands".

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 also wanted a unit head to be fired. Mahlakoana commended the work done by police and prison officials in bringing the situation under control.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance called for an independent commission of inquiry into the riots.

"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 were allegedly the precipitate cause of the riot," said Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe.

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

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.

- SAPA
Read more on:    popcru  |  sibusiso ndebele  |  james selfe  |  bloemfontein  |  prisons
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