Fallen tennis ace Bob Hewitt will enjoy some privileges at the St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth as a result of being categorised as a “medium offender”.
Hewitt reported to authorities just before 7am on Tuesday to start serving his six-year jail term for the rape and sexual assault of three teenage girls who were his tennis students in the 1980s and 1990s.
Correctional services spokesperson Zama Feni said officials had placed Hewitt in a medium B centre at St Albans, as he was categorised as a medium offender.
A maximum centre does not allow contact visits for the first 6 months, while at a medium centre Hewitt will enjoy two visits a month, which can last up to 45 minutes each.
“At the moment he is undergoing a security risk and health risk assessment, this will indicate which type of cell he will be put into. As you know he has a health condition, but all this will be taken into consideration, and it will be determined by the close of today [Tuesday] whether or not he goes to a group, single or hospital cell,” said Feni.
It is just over a week since the Constitutional Court denied the 76-year-old leave to appeal the length of his jail term.
Hewitt approached the state for permission to hand himself in at the St Albans Correctional Facility, which is close to his home in Addo.
This was approved by the Johannesburg High Court due to Hewitt’s ailing health and his inability to travel the distance to Johannesburg.
Speaking outside St Albans Prison on Tuesday, Women and Men Against Child Abuse founding director Miranda Friedmann, said that this was an iconic case, and Hewitt would not be remembered as a renowned Wimbledon tennis player but rather as a child rapist and molester.
She said nobody was above the law and Bob Hewitt’s high profile case served to show that.
Born in January, 1940, Hewitt is a former professional tennis player from Australia. In 1967, after marrying a South African, he became a South African citizen.
Hewitt won numerous Grand Slam events during his career in the 1960s and 1970s.
He was ranked World No. 6 in 1967. In 1992, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, but was indefinitely suspended from it following the sexual harassment investigation against him in November 2012.
– African News Agency (ANA)