- Published: 21 October 2014
- Written by Staff Reporter
EVEN the most hardened criminals cower in fear at the prospect of a stretch inside the notorious Kgosi Mampuru II prison (formerly Pretoria Central Prison).
Filled with South Africa's most violent criminals, the concrete facility is said to be a hotbed of gang feuding, rape and uncompromising prison guards.
Kgosi Mampuru II Management Area is a large prison in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. The prison was the official site of capital punishment in South Africa during the apartheid era. Condemned prisoners were held in a section of the prison called "The Pot".
At one time, the prison gallows could hang up to 7 people at a time.
The facility was renamed Kgosi Mampuru II on 10 April last year at a function attended by a number of dignitaries, including President Jacob Zuma, former ANC Women's League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, ANC chief whip in Parliament Mathole Motshekga, Minister of Correctional Services Sbu Ndebele, Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The renaming of the correctional facility is part of a process started by former Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula and is aimed at turning correctional centres into places of hope and change.
Mampuru II was hanged at the prison on November 22, 1883, for public violence and revolt, as well as the murder of rival leader Sekhukhune in the same year. Mampuru III urged the government to assist the Bapedi tribe to trace the remains of their ancestors so that they could be afforded a decent burial in Mamone, Limpopo. He said that Mampuru II was labelled a murderer by Kruger’s government, from which he declared himself independent. "He was the rightful heir to the Bapedi tribe," he said.
Timothy Peter Jenkin (born 1948) is a South African writer, former political prisoner and prison escapee, and a monetary activist.
Jenkin, a Cape Town resident and University of Cape Town alumnus, was charged with "producing and distributing 18 different pamphlets on behalf of banned organisations" He was arrested, plead guilty to all charges and received a 12 year sentence. However, a year later in 1979, Jenkin and fellow inmates Alex Moumbaris and Stephen Lee broke out of then Pretoria Central Prison. He subsequently moved to London and worked as a Research Officer for the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa.
Kgosi Mampuru II Management Area gained notoriety as the main site for hangings during the apartheid era.
Death row prisoners were held in a section of the prison called "The Pot" and the gallows could hang up seven men in one go.
Prisoners are said to spend up to 23 hours a day in their cramped cells, and many complain they are attacked by gang members who threaten them with rape or try to extort them for protection money.
The Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons recently revealed that South African prison gangs are using HIV infection as punishment, ordering gang members carrying the AIDS virus to rape disobedient inmates in a ritual known as "slow puncture".
Meanwhile, the law says Pistorius would be allowed to keep his prosthetic legs, but he may be forced to hand them over to staff at night.
Prison reform campaigner Lukas Muntingh told the newspaper: "Potentially they could be a security risk. Anything can be. Toothbrushes are a security risk because they sharpen them and use them as a weapon."
As an elite athlete, Pistorius has been used to a strict exercise and diet regime. But in Kgosi Mampuru II Management Area, he would be allowed just one hour of exercise a day, and have very basic rations.
The prison houses 7 000 offenders, but it is unlikely that Pistorius would be placed in the general population. It is believed that he would be housed in one of the prison's 22 single cells — seven of which are currently occupied.
Each cell has a toilet, a basin, a cupboard and a bed with basic linen. During sentencing, it was indicated that should Oscar need a shower with a bench or rails, it would not be unreasonable that these could be installed for him.
According to the Department of Corrections, the prison also offers a range of programs to help inmates deal with anger management, substance abuse, and life in prison.
Should Pistorius choose to keep himself busy, he can chose from skill development courses such as spray painting and welding. He could also earn a little money working in the textile or furniture workshops, or gardening.
The prison also has two gyms where Oscar can work out and maintain his fitness if he has hopes of returning to athletics when he is released.
The paralympian would also be allowed two visitors per week over the weekend or on public holidays, who could stay for a maximum of 60 minutes depending on which section he is assigned to.
Last week it was reported that Oscar Pistorius's safety in prison is guaranteed. This is according to prisoners at Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru II prison where the paralympian will be housed for half a decade.
"People here are lovers not haters. All Mr Pistorius needs to do is associate himself with positive people," one prisoner told The Times.
One prisoner, serving 15 years for armed robbery and speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "It is his fame that will give him his protection ... that and whatever money he has to buy. the necessaries. Bartering in prison is the game ... cigarettes and money. If you have or can get them, then you are fine," he said.
He said the advice of prisoners - who had been watching the trial on mobile satellite-TV devices - was that Pistorius should associate with the "right people".
"Associate with the right people, the lovers: those who see a future for themselves outside prison. Your protection through your fame is a definite. Everyone knows you. Pistorius will have people who clean and wash for him, do things for him. The gangs will obviously try to protect him, make promises and offers, especially the senior members. Any cellphone he wants is his. A smart- phone, BlackBerry. It is already being organised. The airtime is there," he said.
"He need not worry about his family, he can Skype with them any time. People in here are getting ready for him, organising things he might want or need. We will make sure he remains the fastest man in the world with no legs. People know Mr Pistorius is a no-go, off limits to any form of harm. Those protecting him will not hesitate to do what they must to ensure his protection, but this comes at a cost." Source: South Africa Latest News