The trio hit back, laying down a case which stated that prohibiting access by sentenced prisoners to computers adversely affects their equal enjoyment of their right to human dignity and their right to education and to study further, and amounting to unfair discrimination.
They said the department of correctional services, the Zonderwater facility and Lamola’s stance that these posed a security threat were unfounded.
They said some of the open time they were given in prison had to be used, for instance, to attend clinic for check-ups and medical treatment, which would cut into their open time by between two to three hours on the affected days when they needed to use the computers.
They submitted the computer room would sometimes open later than 7am. Access to the computer room was often not allowed due to a general lockdown as a result of security concerns. Additionally, their open time would regularly by reduced by them attending ablutions, having breakfast and receiving visitors.
Writing assignments by hand and later typing them out meant they were usually behind on their assignments.
Following this ruling, the prisoners are entitled to use their personal computers without the use of a modem in their cells for as long as they remain registered students with any recognised tertiary institution in SA.
The court ruled their computers be made available for inspection at any given time.