Minister Lamola plans to relocate 3 000 inmates from Kutama-Sinthumule prison

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Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says his department is ready to move all the 3 000 inmates from the Kutama-Sinthumule maximum security prison in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, to other prison facilities.

This follows a fire at the prison, after a riot, on Monday.

A 37 year-old inmate died while 18 others were injured during the incident. It also injured some prison warders and damaged the kitchen, maintenance section and two blocks housing inmates.

Lamola tells the media in Pretoria that the detainees were dissatisfied with the disciplinary measures taken against their fellow inmate.

“The inmates started the fire due to their grievances with the facility management. They were also unhappy with the disciplinary action taken against an inmate who had been moved to a special care unit. An outbreak of unrest and destruction at the facility prompted the South African custodian management company to declare an emergency with DCS. As a result the department of correctional services intervened to restore stability to the facility.”

The Department of Correctional Services says inmates went on rampage after their demands were not met by the facility management. Inmates were demanding, amongst other things, to be transferred to facilities nearer to their homes.

Families unhappy with transfers

Some families and friends of inmates at the Correctional Facility have expressed discontent over the transfer of inmates to other facilities across the country.

The process of relocating the inmates is underway after some parts of the the prison were torched during a riot by inmates on Monday.

Some families and friends of inmates say they were not consulted over the process.

Concerned friend, Mmbengeni Mulaudzi says, ” My friend is in this prison serving a sentence for culpable homicide. I am not sure what us happening to him. I don’t even know where he will be transferred to”

Concerned family member, Rudzani Magoda says, “It is painful, I don’t even know if my loved one has died or is in hospital, No consultation at all.”

The Department says it will soon consult with families of the inmates. National Commissioner at the Department of Correctional Services, Makgothi Thobakgale says the process of relocating the inmates is underway and that families will soon be consulted as what is happening with their loved ones.

Minister Lamola has commended law enforcement for acting swiftly to thwart further mayhem.

Lamola says it would have been an embarrassment to the state if the whole facility was burned and it there was mass escape of inmates. He confirmed that no inmate escaped during the incident.

VIDE0: Fire at Kutama-Sinthumule maximum prison being investigated: