Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT will soon construct a new prison in Gwanda, Matabeleland South to address the problem of overcrowding at Gwanda Prison which is compromising the rights of inmates.
A site for the new prison has been identified at Gwanda Prison Farm.
Government will next month start working on designs for the new prison.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi revealed this in the National Assembly on Wednesday during the Question-and-Answer session.
The minister was responding to written question by Matabeleland South MDC-Alliance Proportional Representative Mrs Sipho Mokone.
Mrs Mokone had asked how Government was dealing with the overcrowding at Gwanda Prison.
Minister Ziyambi said Government was concerned with crowding in the country’s prisons and is taking necessary steps to address the problem.
“My ministry, as the parent ministry, is aware of the overcrowding in our prisons and the challenges that come with it, which include lack of adequate and appropriate space for detained mental patients, compromised ventilation, drug supplies and deployment of health personnel, failure to provide inmates with a balanced diet as per dietary scale, general shortage of inmates’ clothing and bedding for inmates, amongst others,” said Minister Ziyambi.
He said the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, together with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works completed the first phase which involved a visit to the proposed farm site.
“The second phase will be done in June whereby the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works will revisit the proposed farm site and come up with designs for the proposed prison.”
Minister Ziyambi said the funding required for the project will be determined by architectural drawings that will be completed at the end of the month.
“We are therefore waiting for the drawings and recommendations which we expect to receive at the end of this month,” he said.
The carrying capacity of Gwanda Prison has not been stated as well as the number of inmates who are serving at the prison.