Prisoner A: Update Page

Prisoner A, a paraplegic remand detainee (Photo: supplied)

Prisoner A, a paraplegic remand detainee (Photo: supplied)

Due to continued interest, the Wits Justice Project will update this page with the latest news on Prisoner A.

Friday 8 March

Carolyn Raphaely publishes updates on Ronnie’s condition. Her piece was carried by both the Mail & Guardian  and the Guardian (UK).


Monday 4 March 2013: pm

The Wits Justice Project has received a number of generous offers of assistance for Prisoner A – Ronnie Fakude. One of these was from the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA) – see below for full details. In addition, the NCPPDSA has set up a special fund for Prisoner A.

  • If you want to help by donating to Prisoner A (Ronnie Fakude)

BANK ACCOUNT:    ABSA, Alice Lane Towers, Sandton

BRANCH CODE:     63-20-05

ACCOUNT NO:        10-4060-3511

REFERENCE:         Prisoner A

Please send an email, with your details and amount donated, to the NCPPDSA (Louise Bettel

  • If you are a legal or medical professional interested in pro bono work in this regard

Please contact Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi, Wits Justice Project Coordinator on

  • If you would like to donate to further investigations of similar situations in South Africa’s criminal justice system, please click here.

Monday 4 March 2013: am

Carolyn Raphaely, WJP senior journalist, who wrote the story about Prisoner A – Ronnie Fakude – and who has since been working around the clock to try to get him help, writes an update of the latest developments:

The possibility of Oscar Pistorius being denied bail and awaiting trial in a SA correctional facility has served to highlight the plight of other people with disabilities awaiting trial behind bars. Since publication of paraplegic Prisoner A’s story in the Guardian UK, the Saturday Star and Business Day (see below), the WJP has been inundated with generous offers of assistance from around the world.

Initially, prisoner A was reluctant to disclose his identity for fear of victimisation from prison officials. However, after taking seriously ill last week, he decided to disclose his identity in the belief that he was dying.

Since then:

  • Britta Rotmann (Deputy National Commissioner for Remand), intervened and Fakude was transferred to the prison “hospital,” a converted cell.
  • Andrea Vinassa, media coordinator of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities (NCPPDSA), read Prisoner A’s story and contacted the WJP on Friday afternoon.  Since DCS was unable to provide a doctor, the (NCPPDSA) sent a private doctor to see him in prison yesterday afternoon. He assessed Fakude and prescribed medication which will be delivered today courtesy of the NCPPDSA.
  • Hendrien de Klerk, Provincial Director of the Free State Association for Persons with Disabilities, has offered to accommodate Fakude in the Association’s Jean Webber Houses which is especially equipped to host people with disabilities.  Though the Jean Webber house receives a government subsidy of R2 400 /month per person by the Department of Social Development, it costs the organisation R7 000 to care for one person which has to be fund-raised.
  • Since the Department of Correctional Services has been unable to provide Fakude with a wheelchair since his arrival in prison, De Klerk has also undertaken to deliver a wheelchair to the prison tomorrow morning.

 Friday 1 March 2013

Business Day publishes Anton Harber’s ‘Justice’ is neither swift nor just for Prisoner A.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Story published as Handicapped and waiting for trial – the story of Prisoner X in the Saturday Star.

Friday 22 February 2013

Oscar Pistorius case highlights plight of South Africa’s disabled prisoners by Carolyn Raphaely published in The Guardian (UK).


About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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