MEDIA ALERT: Government ordered to reduce number of persons at Pollsmoor

On 5 December LHR, on behalf of Sonke Gender Justice, argued before Judge Saldanha of the Western Cape High Court that the conditions of detention at the Pollsmoor Remand Detention Facility amounted to a breach of the rights to be detained in conditions consistent with human dignity and not to be subjected to ill treatment.
The application before the court painted a bleak picture of Pollsmoor cells: insufficient air, light and exercise time, woefully inadequate ablution facilities, vermin infestations, all of which was exacerbated by the rate of overcrowding, which, during the course of the previous year, has reached over 300% of the approved capacity rate. Judge Saldanha, during the hearing, described the application as “one of the most serious injunction brought against the minister of Correctional Services since 1994”.
After having heard arguments from both the applicant and counsel for the Pollsmoor RDF Head of Centre, the Court granted an order declaring that the government had indeed “failed to provide the inmates of Pollsmoor RDF with exercise, nutrition, accommodation, ablution facilities and health care services of a standard that complies with the requirements” of the constitution and statute.
The Court ordered, further, supervisory directions calling on the government to devise a comprehensive plan, to be put before the court at the end of January 2017, setting out what it has done to bring an end to the unlawful conditions and what further steps it intends to make to end such conditions. The Court also ordered that the parties be back in court on 21 December 2016 for argument to be heard from the Respondent as to why the court should not order the government to reduce immediately the number of persons detained at the Pollsmoor Remand Detention Facility to not more than 120% of the current approved accommodation number.
LHR, along with the applicant, Sonke Gender Justice, is extremely pleased with the order received by the Cape High Court today. The Court has made it clear that conditions of detention that fall short of constitutional and statutory standards, require the government’s immediate attention and resources.

For more information contact, Carol Mohlala, Media and Communications Manager on 079 238 9826