The family of a suspected cable thief is demanding answers after he died in Goodwood Prison following an alleged beating by cops.
Cape Town - The family of a suspected cable thief is demanding answers after he died in Goodwood Prison following an alleged beating by cops.

Relatives of Duncan Joseph, 28, say they got a fright when officials came to their Wesbank home last week to inform them that he had died just days after his arrest.

Sister, Melissa, 31, says her brother was unemployed and skarreled for scrap metal, which he sold at a scrap yard in Belhar to provide for his one-year-old daughter.

She says he left home on the morning of 13 September and they were later told by neighbours that he had been arrested by Law Enforcement officers. 

“All we know is that Duncan and two others were arrested. We didn’t go to court because we didn’t even know what station he was taken to,” said Melissa.

“Afterwards we heard he was taken to a scrap yard where they hit him.”

She says nearly a week later, officials from Goodwood Prison came to their home and took them to the prison where they were told Duncan had appeared in Blue Downs Magistrates’ Court on 16 September and was remanded in custody.

“They told us he died in prison on 18 September, but they couldn’t find our house and only found it the next day,” she says.

“The sister [nurse at prison hospital] that spoke to us said when he came in, he complained about his head paining but the doctor was already gone.

“I went to Tygerberg Mortuary to see his body and you can see a wound on his head. It is swollen and blue.

“What we don’t understand is how did this happen? Did they not let the doctor check him out? He was the property of the state, so he died in their hands.”

Acting City Director for Safety and Security, Ian Schnetler, confirms Law Enforcement officers arrested Duncan for cable theft.

He says the cables were stolen in the vicinity of Stellenbosch Arterial, but did not comment on the accusations of assault.

Department of Correctional Services spokesperson, Rudi van Heerden, confirms Duncan was held at Goodwood Prison and died on 18 September.

“All newly admitted offenders are subjected to medical screening upon admission, including the late offender. Access to healthcare is a right of all citizens including incarcerated people,” he pointed out.

“Only the post-mortem will determine if there were any physical injuries on the body of the late offender.”

Police spokesperson, Sergeant George Mjiwu, says Goodwood police have now opened an inquest docket.

“An inquest is under investigation following the death of a man in Goodwood Prison. No arrests have been made yet,” he says.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sergeant Japhta of Goodwood SAPS on 021 597 1811.

Daily Voice