Story and images reproduced with permission of the  of the Wits Justice Project. Prisoner A, Ronnie Fakude, is a remand detainee, or a person awaiting trial behind bars. Read Carolyn Raphaely’s original story about Prisoner A on the Wits Justice Project site.


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

Carolyn Raphaely, the WJP senior journalist who wrote the story about Prisoner A, Ronnie Fakude, brings us an update on his situation:

The bail application of paraplegic Ronnie Fakude (aka Prisoner A) was heard in Court 26 of the Bloemfontein Regional Court yesterday, and will continue on March 25th.

Fakude has been awaiting trial in Bloemfontein’s Grootvlei prison since December 2011 without even the comfort of a wheelchair  – until the recent intervention of the Wits Justice Project and the Free State Association for Physical Disabilities (FSAPD).

With tears running down his face through much of his testimony, the 50-year-old paraplegic in nappies described his life in the prison. He told the court how hard it was for him to cope with the limited bathroom facilities and how difficult it was to keep his wounds clean. He also outlined his health problems, resulting from the poor prison diet.

Fakude has no bowel or bladder control. He also has ulcers, a damaged lung resulting from prison-acquired tuberculosis and is prone to infection because of his compromised lung. He has one kidney and his intestines are sutured because of injuries from the hijacking that caused his paraplegia. Predictably, he also suffers from depression.

Next Monday, Dr Reggie Mabuye, a private medical practitioner sent by the FSAPD to assess Fakude, will testify about his health and his medical requirements. Dr Mabuye will also testify about the medication he prescribed for Fakude.

Fakude has recovered since being placed on a drip two weeks ago but has remained in the hospital section because it is believed to be more comfortable. “The truth is, it’s a converted cell with single beds instead of bunks. It is less crowded than my former cell which housed 88 men because the cell was designed to only accommodate 32.”

Notes Fakude’s lawyer Herklaas Venter: “He looks very weak, still has bed sores and pressure sores and the prison doesn’t supply adequate nappies. However, the State is opposing his bail application because they believe he’s the mastermind behind a number of fraud cases…”

If you would like to help with Fakude’s medical expenses, please make your donation using the following banking details:

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 National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa or NCPPDSA (Louise Bettel