Sonke and LHR sought an order from the court declaring that the conditions in Pollsmoor Remand are unconstitutional, and compelling the government to develop and implement a plan, with the input of civil society, to address the extreme overcrowding.On 5 December 2016, Judge Saldanha made the following interim order:
- A declaration that the Government had acted unconstitutionally, by failing to provide the inmates at Pollsmoor Remand with adequate exercise, nutrition, accommodation, ablution facilities and health care services.
- The Government must undertake to reduce the number of persons detained at Pollsmoor Remand to 120% of the current approved accommodation number within six months of the date of this order, unless the Government can provide good reasons by 21 December 2016 why the Court should not make such an order.
- The Government must develop a comprehensive plan, including timeframes for its implementation, to address and put an end to: (a) deficiencies in the provision of exercise, nutrition, accommodation, ablution facilities and health care services to the inmates of Pollsmoor Remand; and (b) the other deficiencies identified in Justice Cameron’s report on his visit to Pollsmoor Remand in April 2015.
- The Government must file the abovementioned plan and report to the Court by 31 January 2017, setting out: (a) what it has done to bring an end to the unlawful conditions in Pollsmoor Remand; (b) what it has done to respond to each of the recommendations in the Cameron Report; (c) what further steps it will take to bring an end to the unlawful conditions and when it will take each such further step; and (d) what further steps it will take to respond to each of the recommendations of the Cameron Report and when it will take each such further step.
On 22 December 2016, the Government provided the court with satisfactory reasons that a reduction of overcrowding levels to 120% of Pollsmoor Remand’s capacity would not be possible, and Judge Saldanha made a final order that the Government should reduce overcrowding to 150% by 30 June 2017, and confirmed the rest of the interim order of 5 December 2016. The Minister was ordered to file a status report to the Court on 21 April 2017 and a compliance report on 30 June 2017, informing the Court on the extent of its compliance with the above order.