Inmate dies following fire at correctional centre

At least one person has died following a fire at the Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre in Limpopo on Monday.

Some 18 others have been hospitalised due to smoke inhalation.

“All three centres at Kutama Sinthumule were gutted by fire following a riot by inmates. Although the situation is under control, the facility is not in a state to accommodate inmates and as such, this has necessitated a process to transfer offenders to other correctional centres.

“One inmate sadly passed away and the cause of death is yet to be determined. A total of 18 other inmates are receiving medical attention due to smoke inhalation. We can confirm that all inmates are accounted for and no escapes took place,” Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.

He said an investigation is underway into the incident.

“This is a disturbing incident as no amount of complaints warrants an unlawful vandalisation of State property. The instigators have been identified and the investigation is to be launched urgently.

“Inappropriate behaviour in correctional centres will not be tolerated. Although it is understood that offenders have the right to raise concerns, it cannot be acceptable that they destroy a facility without any consequences,” he said.

Nxumalo said emergency services remain on alert at the facility “to douse possible resurgence of flames”.

“The Department of Correctional Services will continue to offer assistance to Kutama Sinthumule facility until the site is cleared and properly cordoned off. Such will allow for a proper assessment of the damage caused and costs to be incurred for the reconstruction of affected structures,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency