News24

Slimmer Barbie handling jail well

2010-08-03 22:46

Pretoria – She’s doing well, sex criminal Cézanne Visser, much slimmer and wearing light pink lipstick, said on Tuesday in the Pretoria Central prison.

She was dressed in a dark blue track suit for a visit by members of the parliamentary portfolio committee for correctional services, with her hair tied back in a ponytail.

Visser flashed a friendly smile, but members of the media were asked not to speak to her or take photos of her.

She and murderer Eugene de Kock were among the prisoners who discussed prison conditions with the members of Parliament.

The committee, chaired by Vincent Smith, went to the prison to acquaint themselves with the circumstances and conditions in which prisoners are kept.

They also visited workshops where prisoners do voluntary work with textiles, wood and steel.

The committee interviewed the prisoners to hear whether they are treated fairly or have any complaints.

'Helps to stay busy'

“We are here today to see whether officials are doing their jobs and looking after you well,” Smith told them.

“Irrespective of the crimes you have committed, you are still human beings who are entitled to decent treatment.”

He emphasised plans that are under consideration to get prisoners more involved with work and training.

A prisoner can’t sit in a cell and watch television for 23 hours of the day, Smith said.

“The State pays pensioners on average R60 per day. The very same State pays about R200 per day for a prisoner. Think about what you could do to help prisons become more self-sufficient.”

According to him, it is unacceptable that contractors are hired to mow the prison lawns while prisoners themselves could do the work.

At one stage Smith said it is especially the women’s conditions which are atrocious, and there needs to be co-operation with the department of public works to improve this.

During a personal discussion, Smith asked De Kock why he works in the wood workshop – he is one of only a handful of white prisoners to do so.

De Kock answered that it keeps him busy and that it helps to stay busy while you’re in prison.