Once Yengeni enters the world of Pollsmoor, he will be just another prisoner. According to Correctional Services spokesperson, Luphumzo Kebeni, high-profile prisoners do not get special treatment, ?We don?t have a category of more important or less important inmates?.
Strip searched, finger printed
So what exactly is in store for Mr Yengeni? With the exception of Robben Island, Pollsmoor is probably the most notorious prison in South Africa and yet most people have no idea as to the conditions and practices behind the walls.
On arrival, Mr Yengeni will be subjected to a strip search and have his finger prints taken before being taken to a cell.
Pollsmoor has the capacity to accommodate about 4000 inmates and is currently accommodating about 8000 (the number fluctuates on a daily basis), meaning that there is severe overcrowding.
Communal cells which are meant to hold 18 men have been reported to have held between 40 and 60. These cells contain a single toilet and obviously too few beds. Single cells ? which inmates can request on the grounds that they wish to study or need protection ? often house as many as three inmates.
The prison has a staff of 1278, which means the that staff/prisoner ratio is about one staff member to every six prisoners. Bearing in mind that many of these staff members are involved in the administration of the prison, there are even more inmates per warden.
One warden for 50 inmates
A 2002 human rights probe into the conditions at Pollsmoor found that there was one warden for every 50 inmates and only one nurse for every 800 inmates.
The severe overcrowding means that facilities and personnel are stretched to the limit. A former warden, who wished to remain anonymous, said that although inmates are by law supposed to spend an hour outside each day, this does not necessarily happen.
"Sometimes they?ll be outside from nine to twelve, some never go outside, some go out for an hour. It just depends on how many guards are available and whether there is space in the quad."
Like their access to ?outside time?, the prisoners ?technically? have access to certain facilities. According to the former warden, there are libraries, but often these are "just full of junk". There are also supposed to be recreational, non-academic and formal education programmes, but these often exist only in theory with the majority of prisoners having very little or no access to them.
Gang violence and rape
Over and above these very unpleasant and over-crowded conditions, there is the overriding problem of gang violence and rape. The former warden suggests that the rumours the public hears about violence and rape in the prison don?t come close to the reality of the situation.
?There are no statistics and the rapes are often under-reported. Things are far worse than people think.?
And who you were on the outside is of no consequence once you?re inside Pollsmoor. In a world run by the notorious Numbers gangs (27s, 28s), your social standing or 'hero' status in the 'real' world is irrelevant.
A 2002 intervention by Rape Crisis at Pollsmoor found that the practice of rape is integral to the power structures and hierarchies amongst the inmates and, for the average inmate, being raped whilst in prison is a highly likely scenario. In an environment where dangerous sexual practices are so prevalent, the possibility of HIV transmission is a serious concern.
A harsh indictment for any inmate. And yet, if prior convictions are anything to go by, it is not likely that Mr Yengeni will get "standard" inmate treatment.
Fellow ANC fraudster Allan Boesak, who also had an honorary escort (which ironically included Yengeni), was transferred to the new Malmesbury prison where he served out most of his sentence. Yengeni is expected to serve only eight months of his four-year sentence.