WJP in the media: Carolyn Raphaely speaks to ANN7 about disabled inmates in SA prisons

Senior journalist, Carolyn Raphaely, speaks to ANN7 about disabled inmates in South African correctional facilities. Watch the video below…


The parallel universe in Kgosi Mampuru: Inmates with disabilities speak

Kgosi Mampuru

Kgosi Mampuru prison. Image: Google

“Also, there are no shower doors in the single cells but they do have their own toilets inside their cells. In the communal cells, there are no doors in the showers or the toilets. The inmates make their own plans. They take black garbage bags and hang them over broomsticks to make a curtain. That is the only privacy in the toilet.

“There are also single cells in the hospital section in H block. It’s quite flat there so it’s better for people like Oscar, or me. If something goes wrong at night, it will take two or three hours to get help. There are no intercoms there, you just have to shout and bang on the doors. If a member does appear, it’s up to them how long it’ll take to get help.”

Disabled inmates at Kgosi Mampuru share their experiences with WJP senior journalist, Carolyn Raphaely. Read the piece as it appears on the Daily Maverick, here.

Vigilantes in the suburbs


Private guard Sifiso Nkosi. Photo: Koko Bassey

Cognisant of the changing face of crime, Nkosi recalls how in days gone by, “it was smash-and-grab, these days, criminals use tricks … They ask favours or ask for directions and they don’t look like the way criminals used to look. The people robbing today are decent, well-dressed people. They drive good cars and have women with them in their cars, old women, young girls, even children. They use children as young as nine or 10 to grab phones and run away. Cellphones make matters much worse.”

Or better, at least for those criminals whose modus operandi is aided and abetted by technology.

“Crime has become much more sophisticated since the advent of the cellphone,” Grobler explains. “The days of accomplices waiting outside a house in an old jalopy are over. Today’s hijackers aren’t distinguishable any more. They look good, they’re well-dressed, well-spoken, educated and drive expensive cars. They drop a spotter in a suburb to check out what’s happening, he phones his buddies, tells them where to go and they phone to be picked up after they’ve finished their job.”

Read senior journalist, Carolyn Raphaely’s article on the evolution of crime in Westedene as it appeared in City Press, here.


Still no progress on Mangaung prison abuse claims

Tebogo Meje

“When we arrived there, they took off my shirt and my trousers. I was only left with my underwear.” -Tebogo Meje

“A year ago, the Mail & Guardian published the results of a 12-month investigation by the Wits Justice Project into the Mangaung prison in the Free State, run by British security firm G4S. The investigation alleged that inmates were routinely electroshocked, forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs and illegally isolated for long periods. Despite promises from the previous minister of correctional services, Sbu Ndebele, to “leave no stone unturned” and his outcry that “the privatisation of prisons has failed”, a year later nothing has happened.

Addressing national assembly’s portfolio committee on correctional services on Tuesday, Zach Modise, the acting national commissioner of correctional services, said the reason for the delay was that G4S still hadn’t responded to the findings of the investigation…”

Ruth Hopkins’ recent piece on the Mail & Guardian looks at what has happened (or rather not happened) since the publication of a 12-month investigation into allegations of solitary confinement, electroshocking, and forced injections with anti-psychotic drugs from inmates held at the G4S-run prison, Mangaung, in Bloemfontein. Read the follow up here.

Related Readings:

Privatisation of prisons has ‘failed’

G4S accused of holding South African prisoners in isolation illegally

South Africa takes over G4S prison after concerns


Carolyn Raphaely talks to Channel 199 on SA prison conditions and treatment of disabled prisoners

Carolyn-001On 15 October 2014, WJP senior journalist, Carolyn Raphaely joined Katy Katopodis at Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel 199, to talk about South African prison conditions and the treatment of disabled prisoners. Watch the video here.

Statement on Allegation Made Against the Wits Justice Project by Acting National Commissioner Zach Modise

Wits Justice ProjectOn Thursday, 16 October 2014, acting national commissioner Zach Modise made spurious allegations against the Wits Justice Project, while giving testimony during the Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing. You can read the Wits Justice Project statement responding to these allegations, here.


Between the saxophone and the machine gun

Photo: Emil Williams

Photo: Emil Williams

“THE HISTORIC suburb of Sophiatown, on the westerly side of Johannesburg, was formed in the early 1900s when a spectaculor, Mr Tobiansky, bought the 237 acres that would become a byword for jazz, gangsterism and host the editorial heart of the infamous DRUM magazine. He named the plot “Sophiatown”, after his wife…

The removal of black residents from Sophiatown and the Western Areas became a government priority, as it steamrolled opposition from a wide range of civic actors and overruled the less vocal but similarly reluctant Johannesburg City Council…

Until 1955, Sophiatown was a community rich in intellectual debate, music, journalism and freedom of association. But, as in any area where resources are scarce and the population is large (and growing), crime was a large part of Sophiatown residents’ experiences – whether as victims or profiteers…”

Read WJP Researcher, Robyn Leslie’s article, tracing Sophiatown’s origins and the history of crime in the suburb, published by the Saturday Star, here. Part II of the story will appear in the Saturday Star on 18 October 2014. Also visit Sophiatown: A Critical Mess? for more on the project.


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