Local inmates report mistreatment

INMATES at New Prison in Pietermaritzburg have spoken out against alleged mistreatment at the correctional facility.

A prisoner, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, saidthat, for more than 16 days, they have only been give bread to eat.

“Sometimes even that bread is not enough for all of us. On Thursday, we only had two plain slices of bread for breakfast and the prisoners who were going to court left without having breakfast. There was no lunch for everyone and bread was only delivered at the prison after 7 pm. When we complain about being hungry, we are told that there is no food,” he said.

The man said that previously inmates were given“phuthu and cabbage” to eat at mealtimes.

Elaborating on their current diet, he claimed that in the morning they are given two slices of plain bread and tea, for lunch its five plain slices of bread and tea, and for supper it is four slices of bread and two boiled eggs.

“Eating bread all day and every day is not good for our health. Phuthu and cabbage wasn’t the best but at least it was healthier than bread and eggs.

“Our relatives are also not allowed to bring us food from home because some hide drugs inside the food. We don’t mind if the food is searched, all we ask is that our relatives be allowed to bring us decent meals.”

The inmates also alleged that they are overloaded into vehicles when being transported to court, saying: “A car that is supposed to carry 40 seated prisoners ends up carrying more than 80 people. We fear that if we get involved in a car accident many of us won’t survive,” said the prisoner.

Other complaints included prisoners only being allowed to see doctors on Wednesdays, regardless of how sick they are, and a lack of hot water for bathing.

KZN Correctional Services Department’s spokesperson Thulani Mdluli and Provincial Commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele did not respond to questions at the time of going to print, this despite repeated promises to do so.