Krejcir feels the chill
Czech claims jail conditions in Kokstad are ‘inhumane’
CONVICTED Czech drug dealer Radovan Krejcir is unhappy with conditions at Kokstad prison which he describes as “one of the coldest places in South Africa”.
He alleges among other things that he is made to have cold showers, has inadequate clothing and says the toilet in his cell was until recently not flushing correctly.
“This resulted in a noxious smell. The toilet was eventually repaired on July 1. My cell is exceptionally cold, I do not get any exercise, food which is delivered to me is cold and the conditions in the cell and surrounding areas are extremely dusty which affects my lungs. I have lost two kilograms of weight in the last few days,” he said in an affidavit.
He complains he can’t consult his legal representatives at Kokstad, that legal privilege is breached by prison officials who infringe on his consultations and documents, that he has been refused his correct medication, and is held in “inhumane and degrading” conditions, including solitary confinement.
Krejcir’s Gauteng trial along with his coaccused for the murder of Lebanese drug dealer, Sam Issa at Bedfordview resumes on July 31.
He also faces an extradition hearing on July 21 and charges of attempting to escape and fraud at Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court.
Krejcir brought another urgent application in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday requesting that he be transferred to a prison in Gauteng.
Krejcir says Kokstad CMax where he has been held “on and off” for six months is 700 km from where his legal representatives are based, and he cannot have family visits.
The matter was, however, adjourned indefinitely after Krejcir’s lawyers withdrew when he was not brought to court, and his advocate Sonja Franke said as a result they were unable to obtain instructions from him.
Advocate C. J. Pammenter, SC, representing Correctional Services stressed that it was not the department’s duty to arrange for Krejcir to be brought to court. He said it was the duty of Krejcir’s lawyers, with the registrar of the high court to make arrangements.
Correctional Services nevertheless intends to file a “full” answering affidavit in response to Krejcir’s various allegations, he said.
Judge Nkosinathi Chili adjourned the case thereafter but no date was set.
Meanwhile in an interim affidavit, Sifiso Mabuza, the legal adviser to the office of the national commissioner of correctional services, suggested that Krejcir has “an ulterior motive” in bringing repeated applications to court.
He said, as with a similar application by Krejcir in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in January this year, Correctional Services would suggest to the judge president that when the matter was set down for hearing it was “at a secure venue to be determined by the judge president”.
“This is after all, the sixth application which the applicant [Krejcir] has brought in various high courts seeking substantially the same relief,” he added.
In his application papers Krejcir complained that correctional services officials had violated undertakings they gave him in January.
He said he still can’t consult with his lawyers or prepare for trial. He complained that for his last scheduled court hearing on June 30 he was not taken to court and that Correctional Services had also failed to “present” him at court at some of his other hearings.
He also said his child cannot visit him at Kokstad for various reasons and said since he has little contact with family other than “occasional telephone calls” he would like to be able to skype. He is prepared to pay for this.
Krejcir said his recent transfer to Kokstad on June 23 was “without justification” and he can’t understand why he is there. “It is well known that the prison in Kokstad is where unstable and violent prisoners are sent. I submit I don’t fit into this category and there is no record of any misbehaviour on my part — no charges have been brought against me. I am not violent, I am not aggressive and my removal to Kokstad is simply an abuse of power.”
But in his affidavit, Mabuza said the investigating officer in Krejcir’s cases said his transfer on June 23 from Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru prison to Ebongweni Prison in Kokstad was due to a “security breach”.
However, he said he could not give details at this stage because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
“It is well known that the prison in Kokstad is where unstable and violent prisoners are sent. I submit I don’t fit into this category and there is no record of any misbehaviour on my part ...”