Government withdraws from Mangaung prison

2014-07-14 22:05
(Conrad Bornman, Volksblad)

(Conrad Bornman, Volksblad)

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Johannesburg - Correctional services will withdraw from Mangaung prison outside Bloemfontein, after taking over management of the privately run prison last year, the department said on Monday.

"Acting national commissioner [Zacharia] Modise said the department had succeeded in stabilising the situation at the centre and in restoring effective control, discipline and rehabilitation programmes," spokesperson Manelisi Wolela said in a statement.

The department would withdraw in phases by the end of July, having run the prison for 10 months.

According to a report on security company G4S's running of the prison, there had been violations of its contract with the department and the Correctional Services Act.

The department took over management of the privately run maximum security prison from G4S in October last year. One of the main reasons was a concern for the safety of inmates and staff.

In September, G4S dismissed 330 Popcru members after they refused to return to work at the prison following a strike. During the strike, the facility, which houses nearly 2 000 inmates, was run with limited staff. A riot broke out.

In October a female warder was taken hostage by inmates for 13 hours. A police special task force rescued her unharmed.

A "complex investigation" had been completed and a report was handed to Bloemfontein Corrections Contract, a G4S company. It was given 21 days to reply to the report.

The department would increase supervision of privately run correctional centres in the country to ensure improved compliance with contracts and legislation.

Mangaung prison is one of two privately run prisons in the country. G4S's 25-year contract with the department reached its halfway mark this year.

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