Public works confirms possible Pollsmoor Prison sale

2014-06-27 16:58

The sale of Cape Town’s infamous Pollsmoor Prison and the land it occupies may be on the cards.

Public works confirmed today that it is conducting a feasibility study to “inform the best and highest use” of the 2.5 square kilometre correctional services-run facility.

The sprawling prison complex – which in the 1980s held former president Nelson Mandela and other senior ANC leaders – is located in Cape Town’s upmarket southern suburbs, where land is in short supply and that which is available is sold at high prices.

Responding to questions emailed to him earlier in the day, the department’s media and stakeholder relations director Thami Mchunu said the feasibility study would be finalised this financial year.

On what it would cost, he responded: “Internal resources are being used to do the feasibility study”.

But to questions on whether the study is examining the sale of the whole or a portion of the Pollsmoor Prison property, or what would happen to its inmates should it be sold, he offered exactly the same answer he gave to a question seeking confirmation that the property might be sold.

“Currently, the department is conducting feasibility studies to inform the best and highest use of the subject properties,” he said.

The properties referred to include both Pollsmoor Prison and Leeuwkop Prison in Midrand, Gauteng, another correctional services-run facility the department is considering selling.

In his response, Mchunu confirmed that the entire Pollsmoor precinct was owned by the state.

There was no immediate response to similar questions emailed mid-morning today to the department of correctional services.

The possibility of Pollsmoor Prison being sold came to light earlier this week, when public works – responding to a parliamentary question by DA MP James Selfe – said it was conducting a feasibility study on behalf of correctional services.

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