South African prison evacuated after deadly rat infestation

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Authorities say a South African prison that once held Nelson Mandela, is being evacuated after two prisoners died from a disease carried by rats.

Provincial spokesman Simphiwe Xako said on Wednesday that more than 4,000 prisoners will be moved from Cape Town's Pollsmoor Prison due to a rat infestation.

Xako said two prisoners died from leptospirosis, a disease spread by rodents. The spokesman said authorities will fumigate the prison once all the inmates have been moved to other facilities in the Western Cape province.

After an inspection, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases said in a statement that overcrowding, inadequate waste management and blocked drains contributed to the infestation.

South Africa's late former President Nelson Mandela was held at the Pollsmoor Prison from 1982 to 1988.