Security, land, frogs prompt prison plans - minister

Cape Town - Plans to dispose of Pollsmoor and Leeuwkop prisons were prompted by security concerns, limited land, and a population of bullfrogs, according to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question on Friday, he spelled out why his department is seeking to "exchange" the two prisons, one in Cape Town, the other in Midrand, for new ones.

Masutha said the public works department had first been asked to look into the matter seven years ago, and a similar request was made late last year.

"The request was made due to the two centres being located within increasingly urbanised developments, the residents of which have expressed concerns around the security of the centres."

On the renowned Pollsmoor Prison, which in the 1980s held former president Nelson Mandela and other senior ANC leaders, he said the department had considered expanding the 2.5km² facility.

"But land area is limited on the site and the buildings are old, which will be costly to maintain and repair."

A feasibility study on expanding Leeuwkop Prison had also been carried out.

"But the presence of an endangered species of bullfrog on the [Leeuwkop] site created an environmental challenge, thereby rendering the expansions impossible."

Masutha said an "exchange" of the two properties could only happen if the public works department agreed to the transaction, which it had not yet done.

If the go-ahead was given, the inmates currently housed at these two centres would be housed in the correctional centre that would form part of the exchange.


Last month, public works media and stakeholder relations director Thami Mchunu said a feasibility study into disposing of the two properties would be finalised this (2014/15) financial year.

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

Mchunu also confirmed that the prisons were state-owned.

"The title owner of the land and buildings is the Republic of South Africa under the custodianship of the department of public works," he said.

Land around the two prison complexes, especially Pollsmoor, is in short supply and fetching high prices on sale.

In his reply, Masutha said the purpose of the studies was to assess the market for interest within the private sector for developing the potential of the land in the further urbanisation strategies, as well as determine the replacement values of the two correctional centres.

The parliamentary question was posed by DA MP James Selfe.


Sakhiwo 2014/08/01 05:21:55 PM
Mnximm what ever
FastnEasy Loans 2014/08/01 05:32:56 PM
These properties are both located on Prime Areas, Im sure there are Property developers who cant wait to snap them up
Hennie Cloete 2014/08/01 05:33:38 PM
Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was good friend of mine I never understood a single word he said
Peter Redelinghuys 2014/08/01 05:39:43 PM
How about throwing prisoners into disused mines and putting gates at the entrance? Cheap, effective and no waste of tax payers money
Lauren Michelle Beckley 2014/08/01 05:42:58 PM
I'd rather my hard earn tax money be spent building new, better prisons for the thousands of scum who deserve to be locked up than building a massive homestead for that fat bullfrog who apparently "runs" the country!
Tavengwa Chivirira Muchini 2014/08/01 05:48:01 PM
Bullfrogs are yummy
Theo Martinez 2014/08/01 05:50:22 PM
Let's get to the truth finish and klaar. Selling two prime lands will fill the pockets of some ANC connected hyenas. And building two new prisons somewhere else is good for massive fraudulent tenders. It's a win win situation for the thieves in charge.
Theo Martinez 2014/08/01 05:51:31 PM
houses backlog but new prisons for the gangstas. Priorities?
James Baldy 2014/08/01 05:52:26 PM
ha ha ha ha, lma... Some of your comments crack me up up. Bullfrogs is parlament. Lol
Theo Martinez 2014/08/01 05:53:04 PM
and then in 20 years there will be 5 special commissions set up to "investigate" the corruption linked to the selling of Pollsmoor and Leeuwkoppen, and to the construction of 2 new prions. The parliamentary cte will be put on ice and some low ranking officials will get the blame.