- Former gang member Welcome ‘Nongoloza’ Witbooi opened up about life behind bars
- And, despite his prison record, he hopes to inspire young South Africans to stay away from gangs and crime
- Witbooi admitted to doing terrible things behind bars, which helped him earn half a million rand a month
A convicted former gang member opened up about life behind bars, hoping he would inspire young South Africans to walk the straight and narrow.
Welcome ‘Nongoloza’ Witbooi, a former 28 prison gang leader, spoke in the Snake Park Community Hall last Wednesday, Lowvelder reported.
“It is because of the harsh realities of life in prison that I urge the youth to refrain from crime because it messes up their lives. They live with the stigma of being convicts and they become unemployable in the working world because of their criminal record”, he was quoted saying.
Witbooi said he became a gangster when he was just 14-years-old and by 17 he was sentenced to 25-years in jail for assault and armed robbery. However, he was released from prison after only 14-years.
“I served my sentence in Pollsmoor, Helderstroom and Drakenstein prisons in Cape Town. I also served part of my sentence at the Pretoria Maximum Prison. In every prison I was transferred to, I was referred to as ‘Nongoloza’ (boss of the 28 numbers gang)”, he said.
Briefly.co.za learned Witbooi admitted he made R500 000 a month while behind bars. According to the former 28 numbers boss, he would make his money by selling inmates drugs, selling other prisoners for prostitution and selling the inmates’ criminal information to his fellow gang members outside of prison.
He also addressed the issue of women falsely accusing their partners of crimes they did not commit. According to Witbooi, these innocent men are highly likely to join gangs while in prison.
He added for a man to be accepted into a gang, he must spill the blood of a fellow inmate, which adds more years to their prison sentences.
Since getting out of prison Witbooi made it his mission to help the youth, and today he runs a leadership programme for grade 10s and 11s at Westbury High School.
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