Prisoner gets crusty over personal supply of soya-free bread

20 July 2018 - 06:00 By Dave Chambers
A Diepkloof prison inmate has attempted to have the correctional services minister Michael Masutha locked up for ignoring his health requirements. File photo.
A Diepkloof prison inmate has attempted to have the correctional services minister Michael Masutha locked up for ignoring his health requirements. File photo.
Image: iStock

An inmate whose eczema was aggravated by prison bread said he couldn’t eat the rice and potatoes he was offered instead because they were served cold.

Ishendra Bapoo‚ of Johannesburg Medium B prison in Diepkloof — better known as “Sun City” — went to the high court in an attempt to have the correctional services minister Michael Masutha locked up for ignoring his health requirements.

But Judge Majake Mabesele gave him short shrift after hearing the prison dietician had found a source of bread free of the soya flour to which he was allergic.

Bapoo had “failed to appreciate the efforts...to provide him with an alternative diet...and unreasonably rejected efforts to secure a supplier of special bread which was recommended by him and was paid for by the public”‚ Mabesele said in a Johannesburg high court judgment earlier this month.

The prisoner obtained a court order in 2014 compelling the prison to provide adequate healthcare and medication‚ place him in a smoke-free cell‚ attend to sewage flowing down a wall and assess his health to see if he should be in a single cell.

In May 2018‚ Bapoo wrote to the prison head to complain that bread containing soya flour had triggered his eczema and he had widespread and visible lesions on his face.

In the absence of a hot evening meal‚ he demanded soya-free bread‚ alternative carbohydrates and a way of heating them‚ or permission for relatives to supply him with soya-free bread.

A dietician told Mabesele she had offered Bapoo more potatoes and rice in place of bread‚ saying they were given to other inmates with similar dietary requirements.

“[Bapoo] reported to her that he cannot consume these foods at a cold temperature‚” said the judge.

The dietician then found a supplier of soya-free bread‚ but Bapoo still went to court — claiming the 2014 order had been ignored — because there were no timeframes for delivering it.

Mabesele said the prison had demonstrated a “clear willingness” to take care of Bapoo’s health and he had responded with “lack of appreciation”.

But she ordered Sun City to finalise a delivery schedule for his bread within 10 days.


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