By Debora Patta and Johan Eybers
Prison authorities are doing their utmost to ensure Oscar Pistorius is well cared for in jail, and are even building him his own bath.
Sources with access to the area of Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru Prison, in which Pistorius is jailed, have told City Press authorities are building a special bath for him because it is difficult for him to shower.
"Because of his disability, it is easier for him to take a bath where he is away from the rest of the prisoners," said a source.
Another source told City Press the bath would be available to other inmates in future, but right now it is intended for Pistorius' sole use.
Until now, inmates only had access to showers.
Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day last year. He could qualify for parole after just 10 months.
But he might get to use the bath for longer than that because state prosecutor Gerrie Nel applied this week for leave to appeal both his conviction – Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and not of murder, which the state strongly opposes – as well as his sentence.
Two weeks ago, City Press reported that Pistorius was broke after having racked up a R17.5 million legal bill, about R10 million of which is still unpaid.
Pistorius has been moved to the B section of the prison near the hospital wing, where he has his own private cell. Among his neighbours is Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř, whom City Press understands has his own television in his cell that is hooked up to DStv.
Krejčíř also celebrated his birthday in prison this week and he shared his birthday cake, which was delivered to the prison, with the other prisoners in the wing, including Pistorius.
Another source with regular access to the prison confirmed that a new bathroom is being built for Pistorius "so that Oscar does not have to walk past a number of prisoners to get to the toilet".
Pistorius was previously housed in the prison's EF section, but had to be moved after Etienne Kabila – who is awaiting trial for plotting to overthrow his half brother, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila – allegedly flooded the cells.
City Press understands that Kabila had an argument with the prison wardens, which resulted in him smashing a television set. Later, he allegedly put a plug into a basin and left the tap running – flooding the entire section.
Pistorius then had to be moved because it was feared he might slip and hurt himself.
"It was so badly flooded that inmates were almost swimming, and this was seen as too dangerous for Oscar," said the source.
The B section single cells are a lot smaller than those of EF and a lot less comfortable. The security in that section is also said to be a lot tighter.
Pistorius and the awaiting-trial prisoners with whom he is being kept are to be moved back to their original cells as soon as the flood damage has been repaired.
Pistorius, who does not mingle with other prisoners, even at meal times, has become extremely depressed in jail.
His fellow inmates, sources say, have even been encouraging him to see the prison counsellor.
They have told him "he would not be regarded as a sissie" if he asked for help.
"He has even cried on occasion," said the source. "He really is battling with prison."
Sources say that Pistorius is apparently frustrated by the fact that everyone around him is so negative.
"Other inmates and wardens feel sorry for him or ashamed of his fall from grace and keep burdening him with their feelings," the source said.
"He is so tired of everybody wanting something from him and just wants to think positively and believe in God that his ordeal will soon be over."
City Press was also told that Afrikaans-speaking inmates were looking out for him.
"They have his back, he won't get into any trouble as he is being protected," he said.
Correctional services spokesperson Manelisi Wolela denied that the prison was having a bath installed exclusively for Pistorius.
"The planning and actual work to construct the bathroom and general maintenance started a long time ago. It was due for completion on May 31, many months before Oscar was even found guilty. He is using the communal bathroom."
Wolela said awaiting-trial prisoners "have privileges, which include access to TVs, but not to DStv. Krejčíř has access to TV but no DStv".
Wolela added Kabila used an "old trick by inmates to open taps for water to overflow. He was reprimanded for this and is currently with the others".
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