Failure to search inmates in the maximum security section of St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province led to about 30 of them attacking warders during a meal.
The brawl on Monday led to the deaths of three inmates, while more than 20 others were seriously injured.
Correctional Services Department official, including the department's National Commissioner, Zachariah Modise, say there was a serious breach of protocol.
"It is apparent that the offenders were not searched, and as a result of that, when the offenders were outside of the dining hall, they then attacked the ones who were inside the dining hall and then it spread to others as well. So, that's what happened and that's a serious breach on our side." Modise said here Tuesday.
"We will clearly indicate what it is that went wrong and who was responsible, and definitely we'll then have to take action against any negligence that happened on that particular day."
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla says an internal inquiry is underway.
Makwetla, who visited the prison Tuesday with Modise, says the warders were attacked during breakfast and six warders were injured.
"We have launched a formal internal departmental inquiry. In addition, the SAPS (South African Police Service) is already on site conducting its own independent investigation," Makwetla added.
"The Ministry will expeditiously communicate with the Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services, an oversight body in our correctional facilities to employ their services and ensure that no stone is left unturned in establishing a factual account of this incident."
Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Logan Mastry says visits to the facility are suspended for the time being. "Members of the public are advised that visits to the correctional centre have been suspended until further notice."
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK