Prison inmates threaten to go on hunger strike
Female inmates at Pretoria Central Prison are threatening to go on a hunger strike to stop prison authorities from cutting back on their cosmetic supplies and time to socialise.
The women are also aggrieved about being allegedly harassed by a senior official, who they claim has suspended their benefits since her arrival.
These include family day visits, when prisoners come into contact with visitors, and enjoy luxuries such as having braai's and listening to music.
The official is also accused of locking up prisoners for 23 hours a day, making it difficult for them to study.
She is also accused of stopping the supply of disinfectants for shared cell toilets.
The prisoners claim to have time and time again complained to the head of the centre, but nothing has been done.
"We are now appealing to (Minister of Correctional Services) Sbu Ndebele to intervene, or else we have resolved to go on a hunger strike," said one of the inmates, who is serving life for murder.
"Although we have wronged society we still have rights.
"We are women and we cannot go on without some of the cosmetics. We also cannot stay in unhealthy cells," she said.
Gauteng Correctional Services spokesman Ofentse Morwane said only sentenced offenders were entitled to family days.
"Family days are organised to ensure that offenders get an opportunity to spend time with their families for the entire day since family support is crucial for their rehabilitation," saidMorwane.
He dismissed the inmates' claims of being denied cleaning materials as "incorrect and misleading".