Pubdate: Mon, 05 Jun 2006
Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)
Copyright: 2006 Cape Argus.
Author: Norman Joseph
Bookmark: (Corruption - Outside U.S.)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


Prisoners from Voorberg Prison in Porterville say that a group of 
warders is running amok, assaulting prisoners, starving them and 
selling tik and dagga to inmates.

Inmate Salmon Tities, 25, who is also a prison lecturer, alleges he 
has a paralysed hand and foot after he was assaulted by corrupt 
warders for refusing to sell drugs.

And other prisoners in the hospital section of Medium B allege that 
the warders have seriously beaten up at least three other prisoners 
for fighting with members of the 28s gang.

According to prison sources, authorities have failed to investige.

But James Smalberger, regional acting commissioner for Correctional 
Services in the Western Cape, claims the assault on Tities is being 

Smalberger said an investigation into a recent fight between two 28 
gang members was also in the advanced stages and that the inspecting 
judge's office was also investigating claims.

In recent weeks the Cape Argus has been inundated with calls from 
prisoners at Voorberg Prison regarding alleged illegal activities and 
beatings of inmates by a group of warders.

Allegations against the warders are that they bring drugs such as 
dagga and tik into the prison and hand it to the 28s gang members who 
sell the drugs for them in the prison.

Other claims against the warders are that they eat food prepared for 
prisoners, and take food brought by families for their relatives 
during visits at the prison.

A senior prison source told the Cape Argus "these warders reminded me 
of policemen who did exactly the same illegal stuff not so long ago 
elsewhere in the province".

According to prisoners, when inmates refused to get involved by 
helping 28s gangsters sell drugs and other merchandise to prisoners 
on behalf of the warders, the gang would beat them up, and then 
afterwards the warders would do the same.

One of the punishments the warders meted out was to beat up a 
prisoner, and lock him up in solitary confinement without food for four days.

This is allegedly what happened to Tities, who was transferred from 
Medium A to the prison's hospital in Medium B.

He is now paralysed after allegedly being beaten by the warders after 
he withdrew from the 28s gang.

Smalberger said Tities had been in a car accident and was admitted to 
the centre with a paralysed hand.

Tities, of Vredendal, said that after he defended himself against the 
gang, and pulled out of their activities, the group of warders 
seriously beat him up on May 13.

It was only a few days ago that a medical doctor visited the 
hospital, examined Tities and declared that he was paralysed in his 
right hand and foot.

The doctor only also saw Tities after the prisoner called a court 
official in Porterville and pretended to be somebody else. He 
apparently told the official there was a Salmon Tities who was 
seriously beaten up and had not received medical attention yet.

Although Tities complained and attempted to lay criminal charges 
against the warders who assaulted him, senior warders and 
correctional officers allegedly declined to open a file and alert the police.

But Smalberger said the head of the facility had interviewed Tities, 
trying to persuade him to lay charges, but Tities declined.

Another convict who was also allegedly seriously beaten up by the 
warders told the Cape Argus that he had withdrawn from the 28s gang 
and was now in the hospital section.

He said that in the next few weeks, when he was transfered to Medium 
A where the 28s gang was, he would in all probability be told that he 
must first stab a warder before he could be accepted back into the gang.

"This I don't want to do, sir. We who are here in the hospital, don't 
want to be transferred again to the 28s gang section."

Zainap Jones, a prison worker, said the allegations had to be 
investigated speedily. "I am shocked and horrified at what is going 
on at the prison."
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