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'SA prisons well equipped, can accommodate Pistorius'

A Correctional Services Department official is testifying for the prosecution in aggravation of sentence.

Oscar Pistorius enters the Pretoria High Court for his sentencing on 16 October 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

PRETORIA - The state's second witness, testifying in aggravation of sentence in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, says the country's prisons are well equipped to cater for disabled inmates.

Last month Paralympian Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through the bathroom door of his luxury Silverwoods Country Estate home on Valentine's Day last year.

Acting National Commissioner for Correctional Services, Moleko Modise, has been giving his testimony in the High Court in Pretoria.

Acting National Commissioner for Correctional Services Moleko Modise.

He says, "We can confirm in this court that we also provide accommodation for all disabled inmates, thereby insuring that we are catering to their needs."

Defence lawyer Barry Roux is now cross-examining Modise.

He has questioned the acting national commissioner about a reported increase of torture and assault incidents in prisons.

Roux says the leader of a prison gang has even threatened the athlete.

"That's a reference to Mr Khalil Subjee, The General, the gang leader of the 26s. It says, using a prison call box, this jail bird promised Pistorius hell, saying his wealth would not buy him a lavish prison lifestyle, instead he would be taken out."

Modise told the court that the hospital section of the Pretoria Central Prison has five communal wards, one shower and one bath and 22 single cells, of which seven are occupied.

He also says there is one house doctor at the facility to treat about 7,000 inmates, but inmates can consult their own doctors.

Roux has raised concerns about the apparent high rate of undiagnosed tuberculosis (TB) in cases reported in prisons.

Modise says he cannot say if anyone in the prison is infected with TB but he went into great detail about the facilities available specifically for disabled people, namely baths, showers and toilets with rails.

There are even sporting activities for inmates.

Earlier today Reeva's cousin Kim Martin told the court that Pistorius must pay for his crime.

"Everybody has suffered here and I think we need to give a message to society that you cannot do this and get away with it. I don't feel the suggested punishment would fit the crime."

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at the SA Sports Awards on 4 November 2012. Picture: AFP.

Martin took the stand briefly this morning, to testify for the prosecution in aggravation of sentence.

She said her family was not seeking revenge but feels that the athlete was not sincere in his apology and she was fearful of him.

"I am very fearful of the accused. I have tried very hard to put him out of my mind. We've even made a point of not mentioning his name in our house because I didn't want to spend any energy thinking about him."

She said she wouldn't want anyone to experience inhumane conditions but believes there are prisons that would be able to cater for Pistorius and rehabilitate him.

Click here for more on Oscar Pistorius.

Follow the court proceedings live on EWN's Oscar Pistorius trial blog.

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