Two inmates injured during protest at Pretoria prison

20 April 2020 - 18:05
By Yoliswa Sobuwa

Two prisoners were injured at the Baviaanspoort medium correctional centre in Pretoria on Monday morning after inmates embarked on a protest demanding toiletries and better food during the lockdown, as well as their medication.

In the videos sent to SowetanLIVE, one inmate could be seen with a bandage around his head, while another was seen being dragged on the concrete floor by a prison warder.

In the background other inmates can be heard shouting: “They want to kill our brothers — we did not do anything!”

A family member of one of the inmates said the prisoners were not fighting anyone but wanted to be provided with necessities for bathing.

“Since they are no longer allowed visitors as a result of lockdown regulations, they wanted the prison to provide them with face-wash towels, soap, roll-on, a proper diet and to be given their medication,” he said.

“They were having a peaceful protest when the prison called the police. As a result, two of the inmates were injured.”

Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said correctional officials had to use “minimum force” as one inmate was lying on his back and refusing to go back to his cell.

“Two inmates were treated for minor injuries by our health-care officials and they are back in their cells. This incident has been reported accordingly to the relevant authorities and investigations are under way,” he said.

Nxumalo said the department had taken note of mobilisation efforts by Miles Bhudu, an ex-inmate who is fighting for rights of prisoners, and other individuals instigating inmates to revolt against the state.

“This is totally irresponsible and reckless, and there is no need for such. The department is engaging relevant law enforcement agencies to take necessary action.”

Bhudu's phone rang unanswered.