Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: The Measure of a Nation - St Albans, the Shame of South Africa's Prisons

analysis

Daily Maverick recently reported on a prison-wide orgy of mass-beatings, torture and assaults, involving 200 inmates of Port Elizabeth's St Albans prison. As the matter proceeded to the Port Elizabeth High Court, CAROLYN RAPHAELY has continued to follow it closely - as tales of profound and senseless human suffering unfold.

After former St Albans prison cleaner Ahmed Patel was forced to scrape human skin off the prison walls and clean faeces and blood from the prison passages, he could neither eat, nor smoke the cigarette a warder offered him as recompense. But, he told Justice Dyalan Chetty in the Port Elizabeth High Court last week, witnessing fellow-inmate Bradley McCallum being raped by a warder with a tonfas was "the limit... That guy was screaming like a little pig giving birth."

"A tonfas," Patel explained ... ."is that plastic baton thing that looks like a large dildo. The thickness is almost like a small tin of fish, just bigger than a golf ball. He (Warder Padyachee) made a dildo out of that and put it up a man's arse. Then he turned around and just said 'Ja, naaier, jy het jou, nou kan jy maar weer vir jou clever hou'... And...

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