Recent developments have brought the controversial Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, a private prison managed by G4S, back into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Eyewitness News has obtained a memorandum submitted by inmates at the facility in October, addressing serious concerns and allegations.
In the memorandum, inmates raised issues related to unnatural deaths, alleged torture inflicted by prison security personnel, and a perceived lack of adequate medical attention and services within the facility.
Notably, the Mangaung Correctional Centre gained notoriety last year when murder and rape convict Thabo Bester successfully escaped from the facility in May 2022.
Earlier this year, South Africa’s Justice and Corrections Minister, Ronald Lamola, served G4S with a 90-day termination notice for their contract to operate the Bloemfontein-based correctional centre. The contract was initially set to expire at the end of July.
However, G4S swiftly filed an urgent application in the high court to challenge Lamola’s decision to terminate their contract. Subsequently, all parties involved agreed to engage in a mediation process to resolve the matter. Unfortunately, the mediation process did not yield an amicable solution regarding the contract.
It’s important to note that G4S had previously stated that, following the expiration of the contract, the British-owned private security company would no longer be involved in correctional services in South Africa.
Inside sources at the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) have revealed that G4S is now reportedly refusing to hand over control of the prison to the department and has initiated a civil case in the Pretoria High Court to address this matter.
The DCS has yet to provide an official response to the allegations outlined in the memorandum. As this situation unfolds, concerns continue to mount about the state of the Mangaung Correctional Centre and the welfare of its inmates.