WATCH | 'We want cigarettes,' say inmates as fire breaks out at St Albans prison
Frustrated inmates at the awaiting-trial section at St Albans prison in Port Elizabeth set fire to parts of the building on Tuesday evening.
The prisoners claimed they were fed up with overcrowding, having to sleep on bathroom floors and an alleged lack of provisions to protect them against Covid-19.
Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the offenders burnt their uniforms, demanded to be taken to court and to be given cigarettes.
“We cannot do things outside the lockdown regulations,” he said. “Courts are managing the roll and will be issuing dates for remand detainees to appear.
“And the sale of cigarettes is not permissible under level 4 [of the lockdown].”
Nxumalo said an investigation was under way and all those involved in destroying state property would be criminally charged.
He was unsure of the extent of the damage at the time of publishing this article.