Today, we phoned Grootvlei Prison and spoke to a member of staff ( we do not know what position he occupies in the prison.) We informed him that we were calling from the UK and then we narrowed it down to Northern Ireland.
We asked him if four men, Mr. Boonzaiier, Mr.Keevy, Mr.Prinsloo and Mr.Trollip were in custody in Grootvlei. He confirmed that they were indeed in that prison. We informed him that we were concerned about the men’s welfare in the prison as we understood that two of them have health problems. He did not know anything about their health problems.
We made it clear that we did not know the men concerned but had read of their case and were concerned about their welfare in prison only, as we had heard of other cases where prisoners did not fare too well in custody in South Africa. We asked if he could give a message to the men to assure them that some people outside South Africa are concerned for their welfare. We were told this could not be done.
He asked for our phone number ( more than once) as he (or someone else at the prison )wanted to return our call (we assume). We did not feel this was necessary and then there was silence. He did not hang up on us, he simply lapsed in to silence, so we had to terminate the call. However, we were civil and polite during our exchange.
We phoned the British High Commission in Pretoria today but were unable to speak with anyone. We will try again. We hope that a British official might be in a position to visit the men in Grootvlei.
If this is possible, we believe such a visit would be a great help to the four men.