Frustrated inmates at the awaiting trial section at St Albans Prison set fire to parts of the building on Tuesday evening.
The prisoners claimed they were fed up with overcrowding, having to sleep on bathroom floors and an alleged lack of provisions to protect them against Covid-19.
Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the offenders had burnt their uniforms, demanding that they be taken to court and be given cigarettes.
“We cannot do things outside the lockdown regulations,” he said.
“Courts are managing the roll and will be issuing dates for remand detainees to appear.
“And the sale of cigarettes is not permissible under level four (of the lockdown).”
Nxumalo said an investigation was underway and all those involved in destroying state property would be criminally charged.
He was unsure of the extent of the damage at the time of publishing this article.
This is a developing story.