PODCAST | Justice Denied, Episode 4: The innocent man tortured by prison guards
What would you do if you were sentenced to life behind bars for a crime you did not commit?
This was Thembekile Molaudzi's life for 11 years.
Now imagine being tortured, made to strip naked and shocked with electric rods by prison officials. That happened to Thembekile twice.
After being accused of killing a police officer, Molaudzi was sentenced to life imprisonment; this despite the fact that there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
He wasn't found in possession of a firearm, there was no gun residue, or any independent corroboration of the facts.
The key piece of "evidence" leading to his conviction was an out-of-court statement, made by a co-accused - who the North West High Court described as an "unreliable witness" and a "reckless liar".
When Molaudzi went to prison he left his infant son behind.
Instead of making memories, he missed out on many "firsts", like his son's first haircut and his first day of school.
"The time lost is something I'll never be able to regain," he told News24.
For eight long years, Molaudzi wasn't in a position to appeal his case simply because he couldn't access his court transcripts - a constitutional right for all inmates.
Those transcripts were the key to his freedom.
Through sheer determination and true grit, Molaudzi refused to give up.
Listen on Soundcloud here:
Thembekile Molaudzi spent years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)
He missed out on precious time with his infant son while incarcerated. (Nokuthula Manyathi, News24)