Cape Town - Reports that a young man accused of murdering a well-known writer was killed in prison have been denied by authorities.
Nigel Plaatjies, 18, was allegedly assaulted after he refused to join the 28s gang.
Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Simphiwe Xako confirmed that Plaatjies was assaulted, but not killed, at Allandale Correctional Centre on Monday.
“The Area Commissioner of Allandale personally interviewed the offender,” said Xako. “He reported that he was assaulted on Monday and he could not report it for fear of his life.”
He added that Plaatjies received medical treatment including a TB check as he claimed to be coughing blood, but the tests were negative.
“Although the investigation is still ongoing, the allegation is that the offender was supposed to join the 28s gang and when coming back from court wanted to move to the 26s. The indication is that he was then being punished,” said Xako.
Plaatjies has been moved to a solitary cell where he will remain for seven days until the situation is reviewed.
“The offender will remain under 24-hour monitoring for his safety,” said Xako.
The teen and his uncle, Johannes Plaatjies, 34, are accused of murdering the 77-year-old writer Winnie Rust at her home in Wellington earlier this year.
Both were denied bail in June but in court on Monday. Nigel Plaatjies indicated that he will re-apply for bail at their next appearance on October 14.
Nigel, whose mother Lien Plaatjies reportedly worked for Rust’s daughter, has pleaded not guilty to charges of armed robbery and murder.