Modack co-accused complain of rodents, fleas in jail cells

Cape Town – Some of those facing charges alongside suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack have claimed that the Pollsmoor remand facility is in such poor condition that the cells are infested with fleas.

They also fear they will fall ill due to the conditions.

"The conditions in the cells are so bad that several inmates suffer from tuberculosis, the prison itself is overcrowded," one of the accused, Colin Booysen, said in an affidavit read out in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday.

"I suffer from flea and tick bites as the living conditions are unbearable and the pesticides and rodents are all over the cell block (sic)."

Colin Booysen – who is the brother of alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome Booysen – Modack, Jacques Cronje, Ashley Fields and Carl Lakay have been in custody since their arrest on December 15, 2017.

They face charges of extortion and intimidation. These charges relate to an alleged club and restaurant security takeover in which they allegedly forced owners to pay them.

Modack and Cronje also face extortion charges in Johannesburg.

For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld nightclub security takeover, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked

The group has been detained in Pollsmoor prison since shortly after their arrests.

Problems at the prison, including extreme overcrowding, have been highlighted in the past.

READ: Convicted prisoners sent packing as Pollsmoor is converted

In December 2016, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the prison population at the Pollsmoor remand detention facility be reduced to 150% of its accommodation capacity within six months.

On Monday, affidavits of those accused in the Modack extortion and intimidation case were read out during the continuation of their bail application in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court.

Details about conditions in Pollsmoor were contained in some of their affidavits.

Colin Booysen feared that if not released, his health would deteriorate.

'I am innocently incarcerated'

"The conditions in the cells are of a very bad nature and I fear I will contract other diseases and viruses should I not be released from custody," he said.

He added that he suffered from high blood pressure and took chronic medication for this.

According to his affidavit, he was also wounded during a shooting and as a result, needed to take medication daily.

"I am innocently incarcerated and would be unfairly punished and prejudiced should I remain in custody," he said in the affidavit.

Fields, in his affidavit, detailed his own health issues including high blood pressure and back problems.

One shower a week

He said the conditions in the cells were "cold and wet" and that the cells were "infested with fleas".

Fields said the fleas crawled on his body throughout the day.

He also said ventilation in the cells was insufficient and that inmates burned paper and other substances.

There was also illegal electrical wiring they used to light cigarettes.

Fields said he was allowed to shower once a week and that there was sometimes no water.

Modack, in his affidavit, did not refer to conditions behind bars.

He focused on denying several allegations made against him.

READ: I'm just a businessman wanting to start a family - Modack

In response to claims that he was working with certain high-ranking and possibly corrupt police officers, he said he was an ordinary businessman who, given the regard he was held in by his community, received information which could be used by police in combating crime.

During the bail application, it was claimed that Modack was in contact with high-ranking police officers.

But he responded in the affidavit: "The State has made much of the fact that I am well-connected with senior policemen whom they suggest are corrupt.

"I deny this allegation and point out that I have had as much contact with the members of the group of policemen who arranged my arrest and are opposing my release on bail."

The application is expected to continue on Wednesday.

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