CORRECTIONAL Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has promised to investigate complaints raised by inmates at the Kutama-Sinthumule Maximum Prison, saying some of their grievances were genuine.
Mapisa-Nqakula was on a fact-finding mission to the prison on Tuesday after protests by inmates had resulted in the torching of two offices and a holding cell.
Mapisa-Nqakula said some of the prisoners' concerns were genuine and she promised to solve them.
"They have raised genuine concerns, which we have also raised with prison management with a view to solving them. But the issue of gravity offer, we told them, was not a salary but a thanks offering," Mapisa-Nqakula said.
The prison, according to the authorities, is faced with a poor awater supply due to the low level of the water in the Albasini Dam, the main supplier to the Makhado municipality.
Prisoners told Mapisa-Nqakula that they were being held in inhumane conditions without drinking water and subjected to abusive punishment by prison warders.
She also warned prison management not to employ apartheid-era methods in punishing inmates since they have rights like all citizens.
Prison director Watson Tshivhase said the water problem was beyond their control as the area was declared water-stressed and subjected to water rationing.