Correctional Services Minister Mike Masutha says implementing the Nelson Mandela Rules for the treatment of prisoners will encourage the humane treatment of inmates around the world.
He spoke at the Drakenstein Correctional facility in Paarl in the Western Cape where he launched the rules.
The event is part of commemorating the centenary birthday of Madiba.
The Mandela rules are a set of minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners to which UN member states are committed.
The rules were first adopted in 1955 then revised in 2015.
The revised rules include areas of health and medical care.
Masutha says though not legally binding, the rules could improve the lives of those behind bars.
He says: “The rules will provide a comprehensive and powerful guide that will enable us to implement our laws, own constitution here and elsewhere more effectively and in a more coordinated way. This will help better the quality of life for those behind bars.”