"We moved the offenders to the nearest areas which are Newcastle, our management area which we call Waterval management area and Ncome management area towards Vryheid," KwaZulu-Natal regional commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, Mnikelwa Nxele told News24.
"We will be transporting some once everything is sorted out... possibly to Pietermaritzburg as well as other centres so that they can share proportionally."
Nxele said about 1 022 inmates had been evacuated from the prison.
Nxele said the evacuation of the prison was done in a professional way.
"Not a single inmate escaped.
"Inmates were professionally evacuated from the danger of fire, put outside the centre with officials looking after them and they were fetched by our trucks," he said.
There was extensive damage to the building, but Nxele could not yet say what the cost of the damage was.
"There is extensive damage in that plus minus 70% of the centre is damaged which means that the centre will remained shut down until we have been able to clear it."
He said extensive repairs would need to be done.
"We will have to do proper estimated working with public works."
KwaZulu-Natal police still the fire had been contained but fire fighters were still on the scene.
No one was killed or injured, spokesperson Thulani Zwane said.
He could not confirm reports that the fire had started in the prison's dining hall.
"For now we are not sure where the fire started. It's part of our investigation."
Nxele said preliminary reports suggested that the fire might have started near the gymnasium but he said these were unconfirmed reports.
Investigators were on the scene as well as the SA Police Service and the correctional services department's own internal team.
Newswire ID: 3073
File photo: Gallo Images
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