DEPARTMENT: CORRECTIONAL SERVICES/I DEPARTEMENT: KORREKTIEWE DIENSTE

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA / REPUBLIEK VAN SUID-AFRIKA

REF/VERW NO 1/3/13 P9-1 DATE/DATUM 2004/11/01

MEMORANDUM

RE: PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION SURROUNDING THE EVENTS OF STABBING AND FIRE THAT LED TO THE DEATH OF THREE (3) SENTENCED INMATES AT CELL 551 AT B2- SECTION: POLLSMOOR ADMISSION CENTRE

HEAD OF CORRECTIONAL CENTRE

PRISON ADMINISTRATION

AREA COMMISSIONER

The above-mentioned matter refers.

  1. Statements have been obtained from the following inmates:-

202529507 Bongani Nyama

202523536 Happy-boy Dayimani

  1. The following officials made submissions:-
  2. 12321923 Pienaar N.

    12341428 Mckay F.

    12313912 Verrooi B.Z.

    19006845 Michaels J.

    19006845 Mini J.J.

    15561160 Mtshaulana M.P

    18794963 Naylor I.k.

    12321966 Fortuin R.C.

  3. Copies were made of the following::-

3.1 Personal details of the deceased prisoners

204196911 Kevin Slobbek Van Rooyen

209288 Vincent Carelse

98063045 Jonathan Davids

3.2 Diary of the Head of Centre dated 23/10/2004

3.3 B2 diary

3.4 A1 section diary

    1. Mr Pienaar N, who is a Unit Manager of A-Section, received a letter which he claimed to have found in the section's diary. The above mentioned letter was received during the first week of October 2004 and it contained information about imminent stabbings between 26 and 28 gangs, Mr Pienaar N could not recall where he had placed the letter.
    2. A-section is housing approximately 350 Further Charge inmates.
    3. The following eight members are working permanently at A-section:-

Mr Pienaar N. - Unit Manager

Mr Petersen K.K.

Mr Daniels D.J.

Mr Mini J.J.

Mr Malan S.B.

Mr Naylor l.K.

Mr Jacobs G.V.J.

Mr Snyman A.W.

 

4.4 It is alleged that a drug powder was brought into A-section between 21/10/2004 and 22/10/2004.

4.5 During the evening of 22/10/2004 assaults and stabbings at cell 435 and cell 434 took place.

    1. It is alleged that the complaints and requests at A-section are not attended to by Mr Pienaar N. It is also impossible to see the Head of Centre or Operational Head.
    2. Mr Pienaar N. is accused by inmates to be siding and favouring 26 gangs and smuggling drugs with the 26 gangs.
    3. On 23/10/2004 the following incidents occurred at A-section:
  1. Mr Verrooi stated that at about 07H45 he was approached by inmate Kleinbooi Hendricks, who informed him that A-section is tense and the stabbing between 26 and 28 gangs cannot be ruled out.
  2. Mr Verrooi reported the matter to Mr Fortuin (Head of the Centre) over the weekend accompanied by Mr Naylor.
  3. After breakfast a fight broke out at cell 435, whereby officials immediately restored order and later searched the entire cell. Knives and drug powder were found. Certain prisoners of 28 gang had stab wounds. These prisoners were brought to hospital section.
  4. The report of this incident has been diarised as a "minor stabbing" in Head of Centre's diary on 23/10/2004 as endorsed by Mr Fortuin.
  5. At about 12H00, inmate Bongani Nyama was assaulted and stabbed at cell 434. Officials of the section responded immediately and the cell was searched. They found knives, sharpened spoons and drug powder.
  6. As a precautionary measure, five inmates were removed, two to B2-section, one to C2-section and two to B1-section as a precautionary measure.
  7. The fighting is said to be between 26 and 28 gangs and it is about control of drugs.
  8. Two African inmates should have been killed during the previous night of 22/10/2004 at cell 434, i.e. Happy-boy Dayimani and Bongani Nyama.
  9. No submissions and role played by night duty personnel regarding A-section cell 435 and cell 434 because no member was posted in this section including B1 and B2-section during 22/10/2004 and 23/10/2004.
  10. Inmates Bongani Nyama and Happy-boy Dayimani are members of the 28 gang and they were the ones moved to B2 for their safety on 23/10/2004.
  11. The Head of Centre (Mr Fortuin) is reported to have been told of the situation for the second time. See attached copy of the journal i.e. 23/10/2004.
    1. Inmates Bongani Nyama and Happy-boy Dayimani stated that they were firstly accommodated at cell 549 on 23/10/2004 and removed on 25/10/2004 to communal cell 544 and 546 respectively. Andile Jojo was accommodated at communal cell 547.

4.10 Three inmates, Jonathan Davids, Kevin Slobbek Van Rooyen and Vincent Carelse were removed on 27/10/2004 from A-section (by Mr Pienaar N) to B2-section and were divided amongst communal cells 544, 546 and 547.

  1. These inmates are members of the 26 gangs.
  2. It is not clear what prompted these inmates to be removed to B2-section. Mr Pienaar N. would only say it was for safety reasons.

4.11 On 28/10/2004, B2 inmates were taken for exercise to A-section's courtyard by officials merss McKay, Nyaba, Adriaan R. and Kungune at about 11H00. When they were ordered by officials to go back to the section after the exercise, six (6) prisoners re-grouped towards the entrance and they are believed to be 26 gang (including those who burnt in the fire).

4.12 Inmates Happy-boy Dayimani and Bongani Nyama armed themselves with sharpened spoons. The two inmates attacked the six inmates and as a result, the three inmates (who died on Friday) became the victims. The three inmates, Kevin Slobbek Van Rooyen, Vincent Carelse and David Jonathan were later treated in prison hospital. The three inmates were then placed in single cell 551 in B2-section in the afternoon.

4.13 On 29/10/2004, the situation at B2-section was normal and at about 13H00 the three inmates in cell 551 requested to be taken to prison hospital whereby Mr McKay conceded to their request. After the inmates received the necessary attention at hospital. Mr McKay brought them back and locked them in cell 551.

4.14 At about 16H30 while the officials were busy with re-counting, Mr McKay was informed by prisoner William Frans, that a fire has broken out in cell 551.

4.15 By that time, the cells were not yet mastered. Mr McKay raised the alarm for help whereby the manpower responded within two (2) minutes. Mr McKay would struggle to open the cell because of flames and smoke. Mr Adriaan arrived at the scene with a fire extinguisher, together with inmate Alfred Tulo. The back of a fire extinguisher bottle was used to force open the grill of the cell. The fire was put out - eight (8) fire extinguishers were used and officials also fetched water from the communal ablution. All the material in cell 551 (mattresses, blankets, sheets, and lights) was totally destroyed.

4.16 The SAPS Kirstenhof were informed and arrived at the scene at approximately 17H20 - case number 328/10/2004.

4.17 The whole incident took approximately eight (8) minutes.

4.18 It cannot be established at this stage what caused the fire in cell 551.

4.19 Salt River SAPS removed the bodies after the doctor and SAPS Kirstenhof had completed their task at about 20H00.

4.20 The next of kin were informed on Saturday 30/10/2004.

4.21 There was no official allocated to patrol A-section, B1, B2 and Hospital section. According to Mr Fortuin (Operational Head) and Head of Centre, he was not aware or informed about shortage of members during the afternoon of 22/10/2004 i.e. first watch and second watch night duty.

4.22 B2-section is accommodating maximum classified prisoners with a lock-up total of ± 510 (life sentenced inmates are amongst these).

4.23 The officials who are permanently on this section are:-

The officials are few if compared to the total of prisoners. Yet, they are able to maintain order, except for the unforeseen incident on Friday afternoon, 29/10/2004.

5.0 FINDINGS

5.1 With regard to the incidents on the evening of 22/10/2004 until 23/10/2004, the following conclusions are made:-

1. The supervision of operations including the movement of inmates, complaints and requests, security of inmates do not exist.

2. The unit managers function on their own without a supervisor to check their decisions, for example moving of inmates to B2 is amounting to transferring the problem from one section to another.

3. It is clear that unit managers urgently need guidance and supervision.

4. B2-section is housing ± 510 inmates while it is under staffed.

5. The amount of drugs is a great concern as it has been mentioned on numerous submissions that these gang members would use drugs before being engaged in any illegal activities.

6. The policy regarding security and classification of inmates is compromised, for example inmates who are sentenced to a sentence of 2 to 5 years find themselves amongst maximum sentenced inmates up to life sentenced inmates.

7. It is clear that, with the removing of section of troubling inmates from A- Section to B2-section, A-section would end up being empty or no inmates to accommodate.

5.5 The motive for the removing of inmates to B2 is questionable with regard to:-

1. The 28 gangs were removed to B2 to separate them from 26 gangs from 06/10/2004 to 24/10/2004.

2. On 27/10/2004 three 26 gangs were removed from A-section to B2-section by the Unit Manager of A-section. As a result the rival prisoners managed to get a chance of revenge during the exercise period on 28/10/2004 at the courtyard.

5.6 There is a lack of proper communication between the Operational Head and Unit Managers.

5.7 Except for the unforeseen tragic incident that took place on the 29/10/2004 in their section, the behaviour of B2-section members is commendable with regard to controlling and adhering to the needs of prisoners. The unavailability of the Operational Head to further interact with prisoners cannot be placed upon them.

5.8 The allegations made by prisoners that Mr Pienaar Norman, a Senior Correctional Officer, is the one who is supplying drugs to prisoners at A-section and is favouring 26 gangs, cannot be ignored although there is not sufficient evidence to prove such allegations.

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

    1. Failure of proper supervision of operation in the prison, including uncontrolled movement of prisoners, attendance to complaints and requests of prisoners, improper or lack of security, "mixing" of different categories of prisoners, unmanned sections during night shift and control of unit managers should be addressed as a matter of urgency
    2. A full investigation is highly recommended.
    3. The placement of Mr Pienaar, pending the outcome of the full investigation should be considered.

7.0 PERSONAL COMMENTS OF THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER

One has to determine whether the current circumstances in Admission Centre are not being manipulated by certain individuals to further their sinister motives in terms of making Admission Centre ungovernable. This could only be established by an independent investigator which involves other statutory agencies of the state security taking into account the culture of the DCS.

 

 

 

INVESTIGATING OFFlCER: SIMANI X

2004/11/01

8.0 COMMENTS: HEAD OF CORRECTIONAL CENTRE

8.1 The recommendations are in order.

8.2 The preliminary investigation gave a view what lead to the circumstances that lead to the death of the three (3) inmates.

8.3 A full investigation will give a detailed view and therefore it is recommended that an independent team investigate this incident.

HEAD OF CORRECTIONAL CENTRE

ADMISSION CENTRE

D J SCHOLTZ