Single cell suitable for Pistorius


Acting Commissioner for Correctional Services, Zach Modise, has told the North Gauteng High Court that Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, qualifies as a suitable candidate for having a single prison cell if sentenced to jail.

Speaking during the fourth day of the Blade Runner’s sentencing trail, Modise, who has 35 years’ experience in correctional service field, dismissed claims made by social worker and probation officer, Annette Vergeer, of inhumane conditions in prisons, by stating that an “inmate can request that their medical practitioner to treat them, at the inmates cost" and that prisons can cater for all inmates regardless of their disability.

He also added that each inmate will be assets upon their arrival, detailing their needs and recommendations, and that a wide range of programs are available such as “anger management, life skills, substance abuse, marriage and family counselling, formal education, skills development” as well as training equipment, textile workshops, carpentry and farming. In some facilities also prisoners cook”.

Under questioning from State Prosector Gerrie Nel, and in relation to Vergeer’s remarks about gang related problems in jail, Modise admitted to their being a problem, before saying that they had developed an anti-gang strategy.

“I can assure this court the Department of Correctional Services are dealing with the issue of gangsterism,” Modise said.

“Government are building new, modern prisons with the aim of ensuring prisoners leave with a skill. Our facilities are old, but they compare favourably to facilities in Africa, also compare favourably to prisons in New York,” he said, adding that a refurbishment program is currently dealing with the transformation of all prisons.

Modise stated that if sentenced to jail, and in a single cell, Pistorius would have access to a toilet, basin, bed, sheet blanket and a pillow. He also added that the nearby Kgosi Mamphuru Correctional Facility would be suitable.

Under cross examination from Defence Advocate Barry Roux, Modise stated there to be 22 single cells in the hospital section of the facility, seven of which are currently occupied, one full-time doctor and five psychologists.

He also added that each inmate in this section have food brought to them. Responding to Roux’s claims of a private doctor being an expensive option, Modise said, “If appointment made, there is no time wasted in getting them in. It's those who rock up who cause delays.

“We shall determine the accused’s health needs and where to incarcerate him after he's been brought to us,” stating that Pistorius will mostly likely be admitted to the hospital section.


The trail is expected to conclude tomorrow


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