Living conditions not too bad at Pollsmoor - inmates

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - Greetings - and some profanities - were shouted across the courtyards of Pollsmoor Prison on Tuesday as Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha embarked on an operational visit of the facility.

Masutha, during his first visit to Pollsmoor, met with the department’s regional executive management team to discuss issues plaguing the prison.

Tattooed arms waved from the windows as the minister and correctional services officials visited various sections of the facility.

“Kom haal my; ek wil saamloop! [Come fetch me; I want to walk with you!]” one bare-chested prisoner called.

During a walkabout, Masutha visited a cell where he chatted to inmates about their living conditions.

All said they were reasonably comfortable and gave the food an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Apart from a few grumbles about how only the first five prisoners in the shower had the benefit of hot water, there were no other complaints.

An inmate, who has been behind bars for four years for robbery, said while the conditions in prison were somewhat bearable, he missed home.

“I can’t wait to get out of here and do things like hug my mother and walk my sister to school,” he said.

“I have been keeping my head down here and sticking to the rules because I don’t want to stay here for one extra day. Yoh, I never want to come back once I am released. Never, ever again.”

Another prisoner, who is serving a 12 year sentence for armed robbery, said while being behind bars is “definitely not lekker”, his living conditions were “not too bad”.

“It gets really cold here at night, so I would like it if they could fix all the windows,” he said.

“Other than that, everything is okay. Obviously I would prefer to be outside [of prison], but while I am in, I will try to make the best of the situation.”

Masutha encouraged inmates who were studying to work hard and stay focused.

“We don’t send people to prison to rot,” he said. “There needs to be intervention so that once they are released on parole, they do not reoffend.”

News24 Source