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Friday, March 9, 2012

Courthouse Holding Cells Flooded

HOLDING cells for awaiting trial prisoners at the Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court have been flooded, posing a health risk for prisoners and court orderlies.

The cells were flooded on Tuesday afternoon after the court experienced water cuts.

When water was turned back on, the already leaking pipes could not take the pressure and burst.

The room that prisoners use for consulting with their lawyers, the kitchen and the court orderlies’ administration office were all flooded.

All are on the ground floor of the court house.

Court was temporarily adjourned on Wednesday as cleaners mopped up, while prisoners were held at the Mdantsane police station. All trials were postponed.

When the Daily Dispatch visited the cells yesterday , prisoners were standing in puddles of water, while court orderlies searched for cells not as badly flooded to place more awaiting trial prisoners appearing in court.

Warrant Officer Zoyisile Mnyanda, who is in charge of the court orderlies, said the ground floor of the court had been flooding for the past five years with little action from court management.

He said that as a result court orderlies and prisoners had to contend with mosquitoes breeding inside the cells and office.

The ground floor was also very cold, he said.

“These water pipes leak because they are old and need to be changed,” he said.

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