A section of the maximum security prison in Thohoyandou in South Africa's Limpopo Province has been evacuated following a riot in which a number of warders were attacked by about 50 inmates.

The prison was built in the 1970's and 1,250 prisoners are being incarcerated in the prison. The fight between warders and inmates erupted at about 2 pm local time on Tuesday as warders prepared to search inmates when they were attacked with various objects, according to television news reports Wednesday.

The holding cells, ablution facilities and an office were vandalised. Correctional officials had to use pepper spray to quell the riot.

The Department of Correctional Services says no prisoner or warder was injured. The inmates were relocated to another section of the prison.

A search was conducted and dangerous weapons, cell phones and dagga (cannabis) were confiscated.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Provincial Government has condemned the Boxing Day clashes which claimed the lives of three inmates during a brawl between prisoners and warders at St Albans Correctional Centre in Port Elizabeth.

More than 20 others, including five officials, were injured in the brawl. On Tuesday, National Commissioner of Correctiobal Services Zach Modise announced an internal inquiry into the cause of the violence.

The situation is under control but still tense. A total lockdown of the facility remains in place and the inmates will not be allowed visitors this New Year weekend.

Police have also confirmed that they are investigating a number of murder charges laid by inmates and Correctional Services personnel.