Horror of South Africa’s prisons: the SMSes

2014-06-15 06:00

Graphic details of what happens inside a cell in Leeuhof Prison, outside Vereeniging, were revealed to City Press in 300 text messages and 80 cellphone pictures by inmate and fraud accused Eugene Viljoen.

2014-05-19 (15:38:27)

Leeuhof is worse than hell ... the state claims everything is safe, there’s no corruption, no drugs, no dagga, no fights, no stabbings! Well, that’s not so, believe me! Leeuhof is the most corrupt place there is ... so let’s expose it all! I can, believe me! My phone is on at any time in the evening after 5, SMS me, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! I’ll send you everything!

2014-05-19 (21:04:46)

Here they smuggle dagga, phones, Mandrax, drugs, everything! The guards bring it in, everything at a price. Money markets at Checkers is how money comes with the guards! We pay him to go out and get the money and believe me, he brings it! Some of the cells have no water, they take the fire hose and fill the trash cans with water. With that you have to bath, 40 guys one cell. The kitchen, well dagga is put into the bread and smuggled in at 4 in the morning, in plastic bags full of it. Local, Swazi and then skunk! It is then broken up into blades that can be sold for R5. Anything is for sale or exchange, people swap their bedding, anything for dagga. Mandrax, pills are sold for R50, they call it a wheel.

2014-05-20 (12:09:28)

I became a hustler, the biggest ever white hustler in jail. Guards do anything for money, anything! I learned quickly, I had to survive inside! I’m well protected, I’m a 26, but no tattoos!

2014-05-21 (13:42:04)

I’m sending you pictures of dagga in our cell, Swazi. Visits are done through a glass window with holes in it. At the end is a hole through which they pass you the stuff from outside visitors. The hole is 30cm long and 25cm wide. Everything comes through via the guards. Sometimes they put bags of dagga in their boots. The detectors pick up only steel, not plastic!

2014-05-21 (18:59:45)

Ok, we’re ready for the smuggling tomorrow. Someone paid money in at Checkers (money market). We sent one of the guards to draw it. He takes 50 for himself. He brings in a bank bag Swazi, just for us, that’s over and above that smuggled through the opening at visiting time where all the stuff comes through. I’ll send you pictures of everything!

2014-05-22 (19:28:39)

Here are 30-50 people in a cell, there are 22 cells, 4 kitchens, only awaiting trial prisoners. Some of the guys have been sitting for more than 2-3 years! Every day people go to court, Vanderbijl, Vereeniging, Sebokeng and Meyerton. Dagga in plastic bank bags, phones that they put in a condom and then up! Dagga, drugs, all kinds, anything, money, SIM cards come in daily from people who were at court. Police, guards, all work together and bring it to the cells for payment, everything is corrupt.

2014-05-24 (17:36:18)

Today there was a big fight here ... People were beaten with batons, they retaliated with their fists. All because someone’s bread was stolen and he wanted it back! When he would not listen, the guards hit and punched him, then everyone climbed in, inmates and guards! Everyone tried to stop the people and pulled them apart! All this just because a guy wanted a piece of bread he is entitled to, that’s all!

2014-05-24 (20:17:08)

There were 18 bank bags of dagga smuggled in on Thursday, that’s only the ones we know of. There will be 6 bank bags coming in tonight when the shift changes after to 10. They take a 500g packet of sugar, open it on top, press the dagga in, stick it closed again, if you open it, it’s sugar. Tomorrow morning at 4 there are 10 plastics coming in via the bread truck, all paid for via MoneyGram. I will try to take pictures.

2014-05-24 (20:18:34)

I understand there will be 100 Mandrax tablets coming in via visits on Tuesday, also in sugar! I’ll try to get pictures for you!

2014-05-26 (08:41:01)

Money is rolled up so that it looks like a straw and is pushed into the sugar and covered. They push it into the slap chips that come in. With the bread, they stick it to the slices of bread and then put the bread together again. Sneakers, inside, under your inners, toothpaste, squeeze some out, 1 tube takes R400. Toilet paper, unroll it, stick the notes down with Pritt, roll it up neatly again, put it back into its plastic.

2014-05-26 (09:04:52)

Mandrax pills. Disprins that you buy come 2-2 in a packet. They take the Disprins out, put Mandrax pills in, take Bostik and seal it again. Packets of “Disprins” come in, no one looks at them! Also in the sugar, a whole loaf of bread, hollow it out, push the pills in, close the loaf on top again, loaves come in every day, whole loaves! Mealie-meal, ready-made that you mix with hot water, everything is pushed into it, closed up on top. Knives are smuggled from the kitchen, in the food bowls between the food, through all the security, porridge, meat, soup, oh everything they push in like that and hide it. The list goes on and on. It’s scary what’s going on here.

2014-05-26 (09:10:56)

In cell 14 where I am there are 9 phones. How do they hide them? They search the cells regularly, but we always know when they are coming to search. We are told or someone just calls from the office and warns. Everyone lies on sponges, make a small hole, hollow out the sponge, press your phone in, and press the cut sponge back.

2014-05-26 (04:55.59)

What does a guard think of when he gets up in the morning? Today, I will make money, smoke and eat free, nice eh? A cellphone is the most dangerous thing in jail because it’s your contact with the outside world. If you’re smart enough you can escape, arrange things, everything you must do to get it right! Leeuhof’s guards sleep permanently, from outside at the gate to inside the offices, or they watch movies on the computer. We know everything, even which movies they watch, everything that’s going on from the main gate to inside the prison.

2014-05-26 (15:14:42)

I can give you Radovan Krejcir’s prison no. One of the accused, Sadam, the policeman of the Hawks, is in Leeuhof with me. He and I talk about everything, and what they are planning!

2014-05-27 (17:57:13)

I will send you 4 photos of how we smoke Mandrax pills, crushed, mixed with Swazi dagga, through an apple! The apple is hollowed out on top with a hole at the bottom. It is set alight on top, and then you suck through the hole at the bottom!

2014-05-28 (12:38:06)

Liquor is the easiest thing to get in! Money is paid in at Money Market at Shoprite Checkers. The guard that we send to draw the money buys a 750ml brandy or whisky, 2 litre Coke, pours out half of Coke and mixes it. It is called ready-mix. Guards bring it to your cell window. The guards eat out of my hand.

2014-05-28 (12:48:02)

The numbers control Leeuhof. If you do not listen, you get tjoembaed. A tjoemba is Sunlight soap that is baked hard in the sun. It is put in a sock. The guy who is going to beat him wraps the sock around his hand. He has to hit him 26 times because of the gangster’s No 26!

2014-05-28 (13:45:30)

All the top cells have no water! People tap water in 25 litre drums and take it up to the cells. I will send photos later! Cells 3 and 2, on left side of Leeuhof, also have no water! They bath, flush the toilet, all with cold water!

2014-05-28 (17:24:27)

We are 52 tonight. The cell is 21m long and 8m wide. There is a bathroom, 2 toilets, no water, we flush with the water we bring up in the black trash can! Believe it or not, we all became friends in our own way. We laugh together, we cry together, we live together, I am the only white guy!!

2014-05-28 (17:54:52)

The rape of wyfies is against the 26’s law! If they catch you, they will kill you! Wyfies are bought, the guard brings him in, for R100. This happens when everyone is out for exercise! The cell door is closed. Two stand at the door and keep guard! They smoke pills, and then they go in 1 by 1! The guy who is raped gets R50. There have been cases of 8 guys on one guy, cell 19! Everyone carries condoms as I understand but it’s sick! The guy who is raped then stays all day in the cell. They bring in the juveniles from the other side to the cell.

2014-05-28 (19:04:19)

Remember, Radovan [Krejcir] has a phone in prison. I got his number from Sadam in person. I’ve spoken with Radovan 3 times.

2014-05-28 (21:17:31)

Ysanda, burglary, Sebokeng court, has been sitting since 2008, every time he gets to the court they postpone the case for 5 to 6 months at a time.

2014-05-29 (19:17:03)

How do you like the sound of 200 Mandrax tablets, 10 bags bank of Swazi dagga, heroin and needles? That came today! I’m sending pictures! Leeuhof is quiet, tomorrow the smuggling and hustling will start over again!

2014-05-30 (18:10:31)

Many people are sick. Cells are dirty. Everyone gets 2 rolls of toilet paper every 2nd week, so you have to make it last! If you do not, they use newspaper. Some of the toilets don’t flush because of water shortage in the cells. The whole place stinks!

2014-05-30 (21:21:10)

Prisons consist of steel doors, thick concrete floors, thick burglar bars, guards, thick walls, no future! Everything is corrupt between four walls for 24 hours a day!

2014-05-31 (06:40:28)

Ntash is the word they use for Cat and coke that comes into the prisons and is then sniffed.

2014-05-31 (10:16:13)

They call a phone a Shabir Shaik in prison. I speak on two Shabir Shaiks. One is for everyday conversations! Shabir Shaik 2 is the one I send the photos which has all the evidence! A phone is your connection to the outside world!

2014-05-31 (16:51:51)

All the bathrooms have 3 wash basins built on top of a wall into which the wash basin is sunk. In the middle of the wall there is a hole, so that you can get half your body into it, but you have to be thin! Under the basins is a plumbing hole. Inside the hole it is pitch black. All the drugs, weapons, dagga and whatever is wrapped up and hidden in the hole. There are such holes in every SA prison and we call it the mine shaft! In each cell there is someone who gets down there every night, after all the doors are locked, and puts everyone’s phones and things away! He knows the hole so well that he knows exactly where what was hidden though it pitch black in there! The guards know about the hole but they are too fat to get in. Nor does he have a flashlight with him!

2014-05-31 (17:17:59)

Can you imagine everything that’s floating around in prison and smuggled out of the mine shaft? Here are cells 4, 5, 6, 18, 19 and 22, and then our 14 and 12, which have crystal, bags of Mandrax pills, bags of dagga, anything you can imagine is here, all hidden in the mine shaft!!

2014-06-01 (19:27:51)

Guard Justice wants to sleep in my mother’s guesthouse with his girl on Tuesday night. He said if I arrange it for him, he will bring me anything, just what I want. He says he wants to be treated. It’s part of the payment!

2014-06-02 (11:47:25)

We have all signed a formal complaint and given to the captain about the food, bedding, cleaning utensils for the cells, as well as medicine!

2014-06-02 (11:57:59)

There are 500 Mandrax tablets coming in the morning. It’s in packets of chips, torn open on top, chips all thrown out, pills thrown in – 50 per bag – chips thrown back in and stuck closed. There are ten packets of Simba ordered for tomorrow, everything ready!

2014-06-02 (21:02:42)

There are more cockroaches in the cells than people! I’ve already had a tin of Doom smuggled in via my mother! The bacteria physically eat your body, everybody walks around scratching, I bath twice a day in that basin!

2014-06-03 (18:33:53)

I’m sending ten photos showing how Mandrax how is smoked through an apple. Everyone is smoking tonight. Everything that had to come in today, is in! In the mine shaft!

2014-06-03 (20:21:14)

The guards sit in the offices or out in the sun reading the newspaper! Everyone is walking around, carrying everything in their pockets! We have runners who distribute it among the cells! Nobody messes about with the payments, it’s all cash!

2014-06-04 (13:23:56)

I understand tomorrow’s order is placed! Again 500 Mandrax tablets, crystal, tik, nyaope and 30 bank bags of dagga!

2014-06-05 (11:45:16)

The showers do not work because there’s no water, everything is tapped into trash bins and carried to the cells. From the trash bin of water 40-60 guys must bath, all cold water! The toilets are flushed with water in the trash can, and you must wash your dishes with it! Also for brushing your teeth and drinking water for the cell at night!

2014-06-05 (11:51:46)

The 1st parcel Mandrax and dagga is in. Everything through visitors, how much I do not know! The other parcels are apparently still on the way! The first ones now in all to the mine shaft until tonight when they lock up, then everything is packed, dagga in blades, pills in newspaper packets, like the picture I sent! Some of it is already being sold to the guys! Everyone is smoking and going crazy in every cell tonight.

2014-06-05 (11:54:19)

The guys call a meal a Pakka. Morning, 1st Pakka, usually porridge, three slices of bread, and coffee, no sugar, very weak, tastes like pee! Eleven o’clock, bread, 3 slices of stale bread, and sweeto cool drink, 1 cup! Lunch, you have the photos, I’ll send more later tonight. [The company who has the contract with the state to supply all the food] gets R130 per prisoner, three meals a day! Some people don’t get any food some days, it’s too little, or not enough!

2014-06-05 (12:13:15)

The guards are so busy smuggling and making money that they do not take notice of what’s going on! I know what comes in, and how, and no one checks it! They search someone every now and then but for most of them it is too much work. The passages are full of guards sitting around and doing nothing. 5-5, that’s how they count you in the cells! You stand in groups of 5 at 6 o’clock every morning and then just after 4 when they lock up! Some days they count wrong then we have to correct them, can you believe it!

2014-06-05 (12:53:47)

Some of the guys who are raped can’t even walk afterwards, and are carried back to your cell, where you come from! If you say something to someone, you will suffer, believe me! They will kill you! If you are raped once, you will always be raped, you have no choice, you must, you are forced. Some big gangster buys you for himself, you are even moved to his cell! You then become his slave and his bitch! When he has finished with you, you are sold to someone else!

2014-06-05 (18:28:39)

These cells are blue with smoke, but there is no guard in sight!

2014-06-05 (18:34:31.45)

My mother gave a guard R50 during her visit today to let my things through! Now he wants a new kettle, can you believe it!

2014-06-05 (18:37:18)

The wind is blowing terribly and I sleep at the window! It’s blowing in here, because the window is broken and I have covered it with a box and Glad Wrap!

2014-06-09 (18:58:00)

I was sentenced today, I got three months. I’m now in the sentenced side of Leeuhof. There are 87 people in a cell, I and 15 others sleep on the floor! There are two toilets, and the wash basins and showers, you have pictures! The mine shaft looks exactly the same as in my old cell. Here the guards also bring anything in for money. It’s bad, you will never in your life imagine what it’s like here! Everyone wears orange jumpsuits, I get mine tomorrow! I can’t even bath, no water. It goes on and off, you have to wait! The cell has space for about 30. They smuggle even more here than on the other side. Your eyes would drop out, everything, bags and bags of stuff, all kinds of drugs, everything goes into the mine shaft! I counted 22 phones!

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