G4S retake control of Mangaung prison after ‘complex investigation’

2014-08-02 09:39

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Correctional services has handed full control of the Mangaung prison to the G4S security group after taking over management of the privately run prison outside Bloemfontein last year.

“As a department, we are satisfied that the issues that led to our takeover of the Mangaung Correctional Centre have been resolved and we will continue to work with G4S to ensure a phased handover and operation of the facility,” national commissioner Zach Modise said yesterday.

The regional president of security company G4S Africa, Andy Baker, said it had agreed to re-employ 326 dismissed employees.

“We would like to thank the department for its leadership on this matter throughout this period and we will continue to work with the department and our labour partners, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), to ensure that operations are stabilised,” he said.

Baker said the company and union would work with an outside facilitator to continue to improve employee relations.

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

According to a report on G4S’s running of the prison, there were violations of its contract with the department and the Correctional Services Act.

The department took over management of the 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 from harm.

A “complex investigation” was completed and a report handed to Bloemfontein Corrections Contracts, a G4S company. It was given 21 days to respond.

The Mangaung Maximum Security Prison has about 3 000 inmates.

G4S runs the prison as part of a consortium under a 25-year contract signed in 2000.

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