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Victim Of South Africa's 'Rich Man's Justice'
There are two types of justice in South Africa: one for the rich and another for those without money and privilege, a human rights group in Johannesburg has claimed.
The Wits Justice Project, which investigates miscarriages of justice within the criminal system, has discovered that a paraplegic man accused of fraud waited in jail for 28 months before being given bail.
Ronnie Fakude was finally granted bail of 10,000 Rand (about £500) on April 12 and became the country's first remand detainee to be electronically tagged.
Mr Fakude, who is paralysed from the waist down, claims that during his time awaiting trial he has suffered a string of human rights abuses.
"The South African justice system has failed me," he said.
Mr Fakude, who is still waiting for a date for his fraud trial, says he endured so many indignities during his incarceration in Bloemfontein's Grootvlei Prison that he longed for death.
"Death was the best I could come up with. It was the same thing ... I was dead while I was alive."
He says the prison authorities failed to provide him with a wheelchair for the first year of his confinement and he had to drag himself through the jail using crutches, or relying on the help of other prisoners.
This extended to begging for help from other detainees for help in changing the adult nappies he has to wear.
"I believe I was tortured ... tortured in many ways," he said.
"I couldn't go to the toilet. I couldn't climb into bed by myself. I have to have a special diet and I couldn't get the right food."
Carolyn Raphaely, from the Wits Justice Project, said she was shocked when she heard Mr Fakude's story.
"This case is symptomatic of what is increasingly being called 'a rich man's justice' in this country'."
She said her investigations showed how those with money and privilege appeared to fare far better under the South African justice system.
She compared the Fakude case with that of the Olympian Oscar Pistorius.
Pistorius was granted 1 million Rand bail within days of being accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. His trial was set just over a year after the shooting. It is due to resume on Monday.
Official national statistics show about a third of South Africa's estimated 157,394 prisoners are on remand or awaiting trial.
About 15 to 20% of them are in jail because they cannot afford bail.
Most have been accused of relatively petty crimes but will be housed with murderers or rapists in overcrowded, desperately difficult conditions, according to the Wits Justice Project.
Mr Fakude is now determined to fight for the many others with disabilities who are languishing in South Africa's prisons.
The government's department of correctional services insists it has a clear policy for prisoners with disabilities, but has admitted to the Wits Justice Project that it has no idea of the numbers incarcerated with disabilities.