Drug rehab 'Torture Farm'
FORMER ADDICTS CLAIM THEY ENDURED SJAMBOKS, WHIPS
They went looking for help to kick their drug habit – but two troubled young men allege they were savagely beaten and tortured by a Uitenhage farmer who was arrested this week.
Anthony Dovey, 52, appeared in court on Tuesday after assault charges were laid against him by the two former cocaine addicts who worked on his farm Wilge rivier, an unofficial drug rehabilitation centre for young men between Uitenhage and Kirkwood.
The men allege they were repeatedly tied up or handcuffed inside a barn and beaten with cattle whips, sjamboks, planks and cricket bats but desperate and terrified, with nowhere else to go, allowed the abuse to continue until it got so bad they summoned the courage to speak out and took photographs to back up their claims.
Recovering addicts Adrian Pizani, 26, and Michael Cusdin, 24, had gone to Dovey’s farm hoping to kick their habit and better their lives, but say they never expected Dovey’s methods of rehabilitation to consist of what they described as “torture sessions”.
Dovey’s legal representative, well-known criminal defence attorney Alwyn Griebenow, has however denied the claims, saying the complainants were attempting to blackmail his client.
Cusdin told Weekend Post how he left the South African Navy after becoming addicted to drugs. He knew of Wilge rivier through a friend.
He contacted Dovey who bought him a bus ticket from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and arrived at the farm on September 23 2013.
“At first Tony [Dovey] seemed nice. He made me work on the farm, working with sheep during the day and cooking at night.
“He made me feel welcome and like a friend. But I was there for a week when he beat me for the first time,” said Cusdin.
“He took me to a barn for what he called a torture session. I was handcuffed with my arms above my head and he started beating me with a cattle whip.
“He explained it was for all the bad things I did before I came to his farm.”
More beatings followed, and while he considered going to the police more than once, he had nowhere else to go.
“I could have gone to the police, showed them the marks and laid charges. But then I had to return, and I could not imagine what he would do to me then.”
Cusdin was at the farm for more than a year, and in that time he said eight other young men arrived. Some only stayed a week before running away, while others had nowhere else to go.
In February last year Pizani came to the farm after a run-in with the law in Gauteng over his drug addiction. He and Cusdin became friends after they were made to work in the kitchen together.
“I was there for about a month before he hit me – one of his whipping sessions. I was handcuffed to a cattle kraal and lashed with a leather whip. He said it was for drugs I had used before I came to the farm,” Pizani said.
Pizani spent eight months on the farm and said he was beaten every time he acted “out of line”. He was stripped to his underwear with his hands handcuffed above his head during beatings and once was stripped completely naked before being whipped.