Cape Town - The public works department could not confirm on Friday whether Cape Town's renowned Pollsmoor Prison may soon be up for sale.
According to media reports, the department is doing a feasibility study on the possible disposal of the 2.5 square kilometre correctional services-run facility, which held former president Nelson Mandela and other senior African National Congress leaders in the 1980s.
The sprawling prison complex is located in Cape Town's upmarket southern suburbs, where land is in short supply, and that which is available is sold at high prices.
Public works could not immediately answer questions sent to it on the possible sale of the prison.
Questions e-mailed to the department mid-morning on Friday sought, among other things, confirmation that a feasibility study was being conducted, its scope, how long this would take, and whether public works was looking to sell the whole site or just a portion.
There was also no immediate response to similar questions e-mailed to the department of correctional services, including what would happen to the estimated 7000 inmates should the prison be sold.
According to the Cape Argus newspaper on Friday, no final decision has been made on the sale.
It is understood the land on which Pollsmoor Prison stands is wholly owned by public works, although the prison is managed by correctional services.
The possibility of it being sold came to light earlier this week, when public works - responding to a question by Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe - said it was conducting a feasibility study on behalf of correctional services.
The department's response reportedly named Leeuwkop Prison, in Midrand, Gauteng, as another correctional services facility the department was considering selling.