Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Prison inmates in Swaziland reportedly rioted because of food shortages. They were given sour porridge because there was no bread.

Untrained correctional officer recruits were sent to deal with the incident at Sidwashini Correctional facility, according to the Swazi Observer newspaper (27 December 2017). 

The newspaper reported, ‘According to inside sources, the pandemonium was sparked after the inmates were given sour porridge for breakfast instead of bread.

‘The inmates were expecting to have bread and tea as is usually the case on Saturdays but this did not happen.

‘When the sour porridge was served, the inmates rejected it and started protesting. The situation soon resembled a strike action as the inmates started singing and toyi-toying.

‘The officers stationed there tried to calm down the irate inmates but the situation got worse. Off-duty officers were called but they also failed to restore order amongst the rioting inmates.’

The newspaper said recruits training at HMCS Training College in Matsapha were ‘hastily organised’ and armed with batons and sent to Sidwashini.

Deputy Public Relations Officer at HMCS, Mandla Sibiya denied recruits were involved. He told the newspaper, ‘Nobody was assaulted at Sidwashini facility. If any inmate was assaulted, I would advise them to report to the human rights officers stationed there who will in turn take appropriate action.’

He said the bread shortage occurred because a bakery truck broke down.

Sidwashini was at the centre of controversy during 2017 after allegations surfaced that prison officers were supplying inmates with alcohol.
In February 2017, the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland reported shortages of food and toilet paper in jails throughout the kingdom. This was due to the government’s financial crisis, it said.

In May 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) questioned the Swazi Government about prison conditions focusing on, ‘reports of inhumane prison conditions, including in terms of food shortages and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care.’

In 2014 it was reported that more than 1,000 people were in jail in Swaziland because they were too poor to pay fines for offences such as traffic violations, theft by false pretences, malicious injury to property and fraud. 

The figures revealed that in Swaziland, where seven in ten people live in abject poverty with incomes less than US$2 per day, 1,053 of 3,615 inmates in Swazi jails were there because they did not have the money to pay a fine option. This was 29.1 percent of the entire prison population.

See also


No comments: