August 14, 2009
By Sam Ditshego
The Sowetan reported on 07 August 2009 about the death in Krugersdorp prison of an awaiting trial inmate who was a student at Westcol Mahlaba Ntsoane. He was arrested on the 23 July and reported dead on 2 August when he was due to appear in court on 4 August. According to Sowetan, the young man “committed suicide after allegedly being gang-raped”. Sowetan also reported that the young man screamed and warders came to his rescue and took him to hospital. It also reported that the mother of the deceased wasn’t satisfied that the warders couldn’t say what time her son died.
Apparently he was found around 6.00am in the morning hanging on the roof of the cell where the showers are. An autopsy or post mortem can be used to determine the cause and time of death. I don’t know if the Sowetan reporter asked Correctional Services officials if an autopsy was performed. If the deceased was taken to the hospital, then the medical practioner who examined him must have taken semen samples for DNA analysis. Then all the inmates in the cell in which the deceased was found hanging should have been taken one by one and have blood drawn from them and compared with the DNA analysed from the semen sample.
The police should have also interrogated all the inmates in that cell one by one and take them to different prisons around the country to break the back of criminal gangs in Krugersdorp prison. One or two individuals in that cell might spill the beans if promised remission of sentence and early parole. Those who know the goings-on at Krugersdorp prison say that the gangs in that prison are the 28’s, 26’s and the Big 5’s. The 28’s according to that information specialise in murder and gang-rape.
It has also been alleged that Krugersdorp prison officials know about the activities of these gangs which makes an inquest the more important and exigent. There is a possiblility that the warders were short-staffed on the night that the young man died. That must be investigated. It also possible that a member of the criminal gangs bought off one of the warders to switch the young man from the cells of the awaiting-trial inmates to the cells of hardened criminals. This must also be investigated. The warder(s) who switched the young man from his original cell to that of hardened criminals must be identified. A list of the names of those warders who were on duty the day the young man died must be furnished to the family’s lawyers and the services of an independent pathologist must be hired. Finally, an inquest will provide all the answers sought in the circumstances surrounding the young man’s death. Heads must roll and the whip must crack.