'I planned his murder because I was tired of all the abuse' – female inmate

2018-07-27 17:51
The GPL visited the  Johannesburg correctional female centre on Friday. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)

The GPL visited the Johannesburg correctional female centre on Friday. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)

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"I know I had a choice to say no, but I still did [it], because I had to think about my family and children, and I wanted to save my marriage."

"I planned his murder because I was tired of all the abuse."

These were just some of the stories members of the Gauteng provincial legislature's political leadership and men's forum heard when they visited the Johannesburg Correctional Services' female centre on Friday. The purpose of the visit was to interact with some of the inmates and provide life coaching.

An inmate by the name of Vanessa, who was found guilty of fraud and money laundering, said her situation at home had put her under pressure to do things she never wanted to do.

"When things started to not go well at my house, my husband said: 'You're intelligent and you know what you can do, even if it's just this one time'," she said.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, the inmate told of how her husband also forced her to abort their child and to launder money from an accounting company she used to work for.

"I didn't want to do it (money laundering) because I knew it was wrong, but I had no choice, and decided to do it just for the last time.

"I took more money, thinking it would solve the problem, but it didn't, and my husband was encouraging and forcing me to continue," Vanessa said.

'He beat me to bits'

The centre houses 979 women and 24 children aged between two and 24 months.  

Another inmate, a 58-year-old who is serving a 25-year sentence, spoke about how she planned her husband's murder after she found out he had been raping her daughter.   

"He was an alcoholic, and he beat me to bits," she said.

"I planned his murder because the night before he said to me: 'You're so stupid, I'm sleeping with your daughter as well'," the inmate said.

Most of the prisoners said they had not lost hope and had goals and plans for when they are released.

Vanessa said she was studying towards a BCom law degree.  

"I will go out there and be a better person because my mistake does not define me," Vanessa said.

"I can tell you that I am not sorry that I came here because I have learnt so much. When I leave this place, I will go and study for ABET, because I want to help old people and teach them how to read and write. And that is my goal when I go out of here," the 58-year-old told the visitors.

She is expected to be released from prison in five years.

Changing for the better

Among those taking part in the visit was speaker of the provincial legislature Ntombi Mekgwe, deputy speaker Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko and deputy chairperson of committees Mpapa Kanyane.

Mekgwe encouraged the inmates to work hard in changing their lives and becoming better citizens.

"I am sure most of us will be corrected through our own mistakes. We can't be judged, things have happened for a reason and for us to be able to learn and change for the better," Mekgwe said.

She said the legislature's political leadership and men's forum stood together in support of women and the "not in our name" campaign against femicide.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  abuse

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