WATCH: Hangman's Noose - The Gallows of Kgosi Mampuru

WATCH: Hangman's Noose - The Gallows of Kgosi Mampuru

Media were given a rare glimpse into the Kgosi Mampuru II correctional facility, to see for themselves the conditions of the notorious prison.

Hangman's Noose - The Gallows of Kgosi Mampuru

It used to be a facility where prisoners were executed until the law prohibited it under the new ANC-led government.

Maryke Vermaak takes us there...

Formerly know as Pretoria Central, it housed many high profile and political prisoners including Kgosi Mampuru II, who the prison was named after, Solomon Mahlangu, Steve Biko and more recently Oscar Pistorius and Radovan Krejcir.

The now infamous correctional facility executed 3,500 inmates between 1902 and 1989, with many more waiting on death row until the law was finally changed in 1995.

Stepping into the building housing the gallows, you get a true sense of this dark and difficult part of South Africa's history.

Pictures and quotes on the walls remind us of those who died here, as well as those who executed the orders.

At exactly 7.00 am the executioner would wait at the gallows. The prisoners would, in sequence, walk onto the trapdoor and put their feet on the painted footprints.

One at a time, working down the line, the executioner placed the noose around the neck of each person from behind. The hoods would be lowered to cover the prisoners' eyes... Everyone would step back, and the lever would be pulled, dropping the inmates into the space below.

Afterwards, warders would undress and then clean the bodies using a hose over the tiled pit, where after they would be taken to the autopsy room. They would then be placed in coffins made at the prison workshop and sealed in until their burial.

Recent allegations of assault, torture and inadequate access to health treatment has once again brought this facility's treatment of inmates into the spotlight.

Lawyers for Human Rights along with Correction Services are investigating these claims and are awaiting the final report so action, if necessary, can be taken.

We had the chance to speak to some inmates while they were busy in various workshops ranging from woodwork to metal work.

Some expressed gratitude for the skills they have acquired while incarcerated and can see it assisting them with their lives outside of prison.

Once called a factory that produces corpses, the Kgosi Mampuru prison has come some way in recent years. It is still a strictly secured facility housing some of the country's most dangerous criminals, and despite allegations of ill treatment, this once notorious prison will never again send anyone to the gallows.

(Edited by Suné du Toit)

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