Prisoners complain about bias

THE Justice for Prisoners and Detainees Trust is set to engage KwaZulu-Natal correctional services commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele and National Commissioner Tom Moyane over allegations of discrimination against inmates at Durban's Westville Medium C.

Justice for Prisoners and Detainees Trust spokesperson Derrick Mdluli said inmates had raised the issue with them.

Inmates alleged that a senior official, who is heading the section, discriminates against them by denying them access to religious leaders and doctors.

They claimed that the senior official, whose name is known to Sowetan, is the cause of gang-related fights in the section. They also claimed that he allowed some prisoners access to cellphones.

The inmates have put together a document detailing their concerns.

Inmate Thembela Mhlungu said the prison boss treated them like animals. "Our human rights are being violated. Some inmates are denied medical attention. I am diabetic and in need of medical attention."

Nxele conceded that there were problems at the prison. "I always encourage inmates to contact me directly. I am aware of the cellphone problem and we are investigating the matter."