St Albans prison: Torture and violence behind the gates, back in court soon

Photo: Daily Maverick

Photo: Daily Maverick


Having represented the torture-survivors for ten years with no remuneration, he [Egon Oswald]  has now lodged an application for leave to appeal Judge Dyalan Chetty’s decision to dismiss claims by Xolani Siko and Simphiwe Mbena – the first of 231 potential St Albans plaintiffs.

One thing is certain: If the plaintiffs’ application is successful, it could pave the way for one of the largest damages claims ever instituted against the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. On the other hand, Chetty’s judgement was more than damning in its criticism of both the claimants and the defence witnesses …

Today, with no compensation for either the Marikana or St Albans survivors in sight, Oswald remains driven by “a complete antipathy to the abuse of power and the culture of impunity increasingly prevalent in SA institutions. This claim is about total disregard for human rights in a system where brutality is the order of the day,” he says. “It is about much more than money. I believe the rule of law must be upheld and public officials held accountable. It’s a matter of principle….”


Senior journalist, Carolyn Raphaely’s latest piece details testimonies of torture, assaults, and mass-beatings inflicted by prison officials on inmates at St. Alban’s prison in Port Elizabeth and one man’s tenacious pursuit for a damages claim for these gross violations of human rights.

Listen to Raphaely on the Power Update with Jeremy Maggs, as she backtracks to 2005 and gives to context of how the St. Albans prison scandal broke

Related readings

St Albans prison torture: A conspiracy of silence

Bring back accountability: How prison torture underlines SA’s crisis of leadership

St Albans: Tales of torture and intimidation

Raped inmate sues prison service


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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