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Department of Correctional Services
October 27, 2011 Engineering News
The South African government has officially cancelled the much-delayed public-private partnership (PPP) procurement process for four new prisons, which would have added 3 000 additional bed spaces at the Paarl, East London, Nigel and Klerksdorp correctional centres. The procurement process was initiated in October 2003 when a transaction advisory team was appointed to study the feasibility of delivering the facilities in partnership with the private sector. The request for qualifications were released in October 2007 and the final tender on September 30, 2008. The bids were submitted in May 2009. However, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who took over the position in May 2009, instituted a policy and operational review, during which the bids were "not opened or evaluated" and were kept in a secure facility. Mapisa-Nqakula said the review highlighted a number of financial and operational problems with the PPP model, including the fact that it conflicted with policy stipulating that security and custodial services of the State not be handed over the third parties. She acknowledged that new prison capacity was still required, owing to ongoing overcrowding. But also insisted that South Africa needed to find new solutions to dealing with offenders beside incarceration. The department had, thus, issued a tender for electronic tagging as one possible alternative and would be seeking to promote the solution within the Justice and Security clusters.

May 25, 2011 Sunday Times
They gave the minister responsible for prisons, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, two weeks to brief them in detail on the proposal. During a joint meeting of the public works and correctional services portfolio committees, MPs of all parties told officials that parliament would not support plans to build four new correctional centres until they showed how the state would get value for money from the initiative. MPs also said they did not understand why the state was so keen to delegate its responsibility to provide security at prisons to private firms. "This is the crux of our problem. We are privatising a security facility, which to my mind in principle is wrong. A security facility should be controlled by the state, not by a private entity and that to my mind is not the route to go", said ANC MP Salam Abram. The departments of correctional services and public works and the National Treasury are considering bids from companies to build four new prisons to cope with overcrowding. Companies would be paid to run such prisons for 25 years under public-private partnership rules and then ownership would pass to the state. The government spends R786-million a year to run two existing privately run prisons, in Bloemfontein and Louis Trichardt. MPs fear costs may rocket. Vincent Smith, chairman of the correctional services committee, said the state would have paid almost R16- billion by the time the Bloemfontein and Louis-Trichardt 25-year contracts expired. Sasa Subban, deputy director-general responsible for asset management in public works, which maintains prison buildings, conceded privately run prisons were expensive. But the state did not have enough money to build prisons on its own. Smith said his committee would not support the project until it was convinced it was cost-effective to enlist private firms to run prisons. "It is interesting, Department of Public Works, that you say that the public-private partnership model is generally considered to be an expensive model and for or some reason [the] government is trying to force this thing through. Everybody is kicking and therefore the question that was raised initially - whose agenda are we pushing here? - becomes very critical for me," he said. Correctional services officials could not say how much the department expected to spend on the project, although the project was approved by the National Treasury in 2008.

October 14, 2010 Times Live
The Correctional Services Department is reviewing its partnership with the companies running two of the country's private prisons at a cost of R700-million a year. This was revealed yesterday in Parliament by the department's director-general, Tom Moyane. MPs yesterday lashed out at the department for paying two companies a combined R700-million a year to run jails for it - though it had spent the same amount to build a new prison in Kimberley, in Northern Cape. The contracts between the department and the owners of the private prisons are in force for the next 25 years. "Twenty-five years of paying R700-million [a year]? I'm sure I can buy facilities with that amount of money if I save the money," said Vincent Smith, chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on prisons, and an ANC MP . In response, Moyane admitted that the public-private partnerships were not meeting the department's expectations. "The current public-private partnerships, one in Mangaung and one in Limpopo, do not address, fundamentally, the needs of the organisation," he said. He told the committee that Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has started a policy review of the partnerships with the aim of giving the department full control of the private jails. The department is not involved in their management.

November 27, 2009 Business Journal
More upheavals are in store for the South African prisons service, and the labour movement will be at the centre of them. But only some of these relate to the tender-rigging scandal exposed in a briefing to Parliament last week by Special Investigations Unit (SIU) head Willie Hofmeyr. Hofmeyr informed parliamentarians about the results of an SIU investigation into bribery and corruption involving close to R2 billion in tenders to the Department of Correctional Services. Central to this is the politically well-connected and controversial Bosasa Operations, one of the companies approached a year ago to tender for the construction and management of four maximum security prisons. Hofmeyr did not mention the tenders or the planned new "private" prisons to be constructed in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. In fact, none of the union federations and neither of the unions organising in the sector were aware this week that private sector tenders had been sought and were being evaluated. Apart from Bosasa, three other partnership companies "with BEE (black economic empowerment) components" were invited to tender for the prisons to be built near Paarl and in Nigel, Klerksdorp and East London. They are Geo Group of the US, and two British-based prison operators, Kaylyx Services and the GSL subsidiary of security company Group 4. According to a Correctional Services Department source, the tenders closed on April 30 and construction is set to start next May with completion in 18 months. This news has already started to cause consternation throughout the labour movement, but it also comes at a time when the trade unions in the sector are at their weakest for many years. Problems that have festered for more than a decade have begun to surface, some of them prompted by the SIU investigation, with its confirmation of rumours of high-level corruption that have circulated for years.

November 22, 2009 Sunday Times
Bosasa Group, the company which allegedly paid kick-backs to correctional services officials, sought to prevent parliament and the Special Investigating Unit from releasing a report containing information about the scandal. Minister of correctional services Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly also sought to keep the report under wraps, sparking tension with Vincent Smith, the chairman of parliament's portfolio committee on correctional services. As a result, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe had to intervene. Smith confirmed that Bosasa had demanded that the report be kept "confidential", but denied Mapisa-Nqakula's alleged role in the attempted cover-up. The investigating unit confirmed that Bosasa's lawyers wrote indicating "that they (Bosasa) believed the proposed presentation was unlawful". In February the company also launched "legal proceedings to stop the questioning of some witnesses and the investigation itself. The SIU has agreed not to question witnesses until the finalisation of the (court) proceedings." The unit's report details how Bosasa won contracts from correctional services. Unit head Willie Hofmeyr released parts of the report to the portfolio committee this week, including allegations that Bosasa paid kick-backs to top government officials. One official allegedly accepted a house, cars, an overseas trip for his daughter and rugby season tickets to watch the Blue Bulls in exchange for awarding tenders. The company, which was repeatedly defended by former correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour, received tenders worth close to R2-billion for services in IT, security and prison meals, and in some cases it allegedly wrote tender specifications. Hofmeyr said the official, who is still to appear in court and may not be named, was instrumental in awarding four tenders worth hundreds of millions of rands to a single service provider and its affiliates between 2004 and 2006. Smith said he took Bosasa's demand to parliament's legal advisers, who advised him to reject it on the basis that he did not have a copy of the unit's report. "I don't know whether by the 'report' they meant information on the report or the report itself. They said that because they had issues with the report, it must be kept confidential," Smith said. "We said to them, in two paragraphs crafted by the legal department of parliament, that it (their demand) does not arise because we don't have the report." It is not clear how Bosasa came to know about the pending release of the report to parliament. Smith, an ANC MP, denied there were tensions between him and Mapisa-Nqakula, over the unit's report. But government and parliamentary officials said that the differences between the two were resolved at a meeting with Motlanthe, the leader of government business in parliament. The meeting paved the way for the portfolio committee to hear the unit's findings. Motlanthe's office confirmed the meeting took place but denied that the report was discussed. His office said Motlanthe met the two after questions were raised about Mapisa-Nqakula's "relationships" with the portfolio committee. It did not specify the nature of the relationships that led to the hastily convened meeting. "The report was not a subject of discussion at this meeting, but the functioning of the committee as a consequence (of) relationships," Motlanthe's office said. Smith said the meeting discussed the need for Mapisa-Nqakula to attend ANC portfolio committee caucuses. Mapisa-Nqakula denied harbouring concerns over the handling of the report. She declined to answer questions about the meeting with Motlanthe, nor would she confirm whether it had taken place. Her spokesman, Sonwabo Mbananga, said the minister " has never lost a night's sleep" over the report and "has never and still does not harbour concerns with regard to processes that are unfolding ..." Sources said Mapisa-Nqakula had stunned ANC MPs when she disclosed that she had attended a function sponsored by Bosasa at an East London prison a week before the Special Investigating Unit briefed the portfolio committee about the company's alleged shady deals. "The ministerial team only found out in the vote of thanks that one of the sponsors was Bosasa," Mbananga said. Bosasa spokesman Papa Leshabane questioned the report's findings because the company had not seen the report and had not been afforded an opportunity to respond.

September 28, 2009 Sunday Independent
Damning evidence of corruption and rigging of prisons tenders worth close to R2 billion has been uncovered by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), with bidders drafting their own specifications. Current and former Correctional Services officials could be prosecuted. The Star can reveal that the unit was due to tell MPs last week that it had found evidence of collusion between Correctional Service Department officials and suppliers. It also found evidence that the bidders which won the multibillion-rand contracts - which include providing prison kitchen and security services - had drafted their own tender specifications. The SIU has since 2006 investigated a security company with close links to ANC politicians and top government officials. The company, known to The Star, won prisons contracts worth more than R1.6 bn. The SIU said it had referred its report to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) "for (a) decision regarding prosecution". NPA spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke said the relevant prosecutions staff had not yet seen the report. A copy of the report, which recommends disciplinary action against 22 officials, also went to Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula earlier this month. It is understood that the report could also implicate top ruling party politicians and government officials, hence the sensitivity. Mapisa-Nqakula failed to renew the unit's contract when it expired in April. The department has contracted the SIU since 2002 after a judicial commission uncovered large-scale corruption in prisons. The SIU reported in its submission that R6.9 million has already been recovered through its investigation into the 200 most expensive contracts in the department, while assets of R12m were under restraint and a R4.8m saving had been made. It also said "further asset seizures (are) pending". SIU head Willie Hofmeyr said last night he did not want to comment at this stage. DA MP and shadow minister of correctional services James Selfe said that, given the extent of corruption and malpractices that were uncovered by the SIU, he would like to ask Mapisa-Nqakula why investigative unit's contract had not been renewed. "The SIU is obviously a very cost-effective way of uncovering corruption in the department, which appears to be widespread," he said.

July 24, 2009 Bua News
A final report on the investigation into tenders amounting to over R1.6 billion will be submitted to the Department of Correctional Services in August. This was revealed during a meeting between Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head Willie Hofmeyer and Acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Jennifer Schreiner, to update her on progress made in the investigation. The investigation was commissioned by Correctional Services in March 2006. It covers major tenders entered into by the department for nutrition services, CCTV security, fencing and television monitors. In 2005, government approved a R436 million contract to install high perimeter fences with detectors and close circuit television systems at all correctional centres in the country. The department also approved the implementation of an R88 million security system at 66 correctional centres, including 36 centres of excellence and 30 other high-risk prisons. This was an attempt by the department to curb prison escapes. The SIU is also probing a deal between the department and a company known as Bosasa Operations to provide food for South Africa's main prisons. Since 2004 Bosasa Operations and its subsidiaries have been awarded tenders totalling more than R1 billion. The investigation further covers contracts authorised during the tenure of former Commissioner of Correctional Services Linda Mti. The meeting between Mr Hofmeyer and Ms Schreiner also reflected on a number of critical elements of the fight against fraud and corruption, including disciplinary actions and criminal investigations against officials who had been fingered in the probe. Meanwhile, in a further effort to stamp out corruption within the department, Correctional Services Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, last week announced the suspension of Commissioner Xoliswa Sibeko. The department, in conjunction with the Department of Public Service and Administration, is investigating the conduct of Ms Sibeko who was said to have been renting an expensive residence at the expense of the tax payer. A report in that regard is expected in two weeks time.

May 3, 2009 The Times
Public safety is under “serious threat” after delays by the Department of Correctional Services in implementing a back-up plan to replace hundreds of private security staff at prisons. Sondolo IT, which has provided electronic security at 66 prisons around the country since 2006, withdrew staff who had been manning 72 control rooms at 6am on Friday morning, when its contract with the department officially ended. Sondolo IT, which runs the surveillance systems at among others, Pretoria Central Prison, Johannesburg Prison, Cape Town’s Pollsmoor Prison and Durban-Westville Prison, on Tuesday submitted a comprehensive risk assessment report to the department ahead of its withdrawal. It warned that prison security could be breached and not detected as all prison-based control centres, five regional ones and one national system would no longer be staffed. Furthermore this could: Require an already burdened correctional services to deploy more staff in problem areas; Result in mass escapes as prisoners took advantage of the lack of surveillance; and Lead to collusion between warders and inmates, especially with regard to the smuggling of contraband as the parties became aware that they were no longer being monitored. Correctional services spokesman Manelisi Wolela yesterday admitted that the department had failed to put in place adequate alternatives. “We do acknowledge that we could have managed this contract better so that by the end of it we could have put our own internal capacity (in place),” Wolela said. But he added that the electronic system was but one security measure and that other security systems were in place. Sondolo IT spokesman Papa Leshabane said there had not been any response from the department to the risk assessment report that it had provided. “It is a serious security threat,” he said, adding that the lack of an efficient surveillance system would lead to “ security breaches, such as escapes and the movement of contraband”. Sondolo IT was awarded the tender to supply an integrated security system, which includes 96km of fencing and 1200 detectors in 47 prisons. The company had been in charge of monitoring 1850 cameras, 850 biometric readers, and handling 600 metal detectors and 640 access control systems. Leshabane said the staff handling the equipment required training which could take between three and six months. To date, the company has only “appraised” about 500 correctional services employees — mainly senior managers — about the system. No training had been done, but they had been given an “overview” of the system functions, Leshabane said. Wolela said the department was now relying on stepping up personal security as a contingency plan. “In some regions we are getting people who have got capacity or potential to learn to manage the control centres,” he said. He added that the department had advertised more than 600 posts for the management of the control centres and was hoping to conclude the recruitment drive by June.

Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre
Makhado, Limpopo
GEO Group (formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections)
May 19, 2016
Inmate set for R200K private prison payout
A man jailed in 2010 sustained bruises, abrasions and injuries to his private parts when a group of nine prison guards came to his cell and assaulted him. The owners of a private maximum security prison in Louis Trichardt have been ordered to pay R200 000 in damages to an inmate who is serving a life sentence for murder and rape after he was severely assaulted by a group of guards five years ago. Judge Nomsa Khumalo ordered South African Custodial Management, which operates the Kutama Sinthumule Maximum Security Prison in Louis Trichardt, to compensate prisoner Takalani Neluheni for his ordeal at the hands of prison guards, who unlawfully assaulted him in February 2011. Neluheni, who arrived at the prison in 2010, sustained bruises, abrasions and injuries to his private parts when a group of nine prison guards came to his cell and assaulted him. He told the court he was forced to undress before a prison guard searched him anally, he was smacked in the face and one guard jumped on his private parts. His hands were cuffed behind his back and his legs shackled before he was thrown down a staircase. He was then grabbed by the legs and dragged with his head bumping against the staircase before being put in solitary confinement for 42 days. He said he was kept in segregation most of the time, although he was “not a violent person”, never instigated a fight and felt prison officials just wanted to humiliate him and destroy him mentally. He claimed his tea was at one stage poisoned and that he was fed ARVs and told he was “crazy” when he complained about it. Although Neluheni complained to a prison doctor that he had been assaulted and his injuries were noted in a report, the prison denied that he was assaulted at all.They insisted Neluheni, who had 11 previous convictions for assault, was a violent troublemaker who tried to set his cell alight, assaulted two prison guards and had to be brought under control. Neluheni was charged with assaulting the guards, but was later acquitted. Judge Khumalo accepted Neluheni’s evidence, although she said he was clearly bitter and tended to exaggerate. She rejected the evidence of the prison officials as contradictory and said they had clearly loathed Neluheni and fabricated a version to cover up the assault.

October 14, 2010 Times Live
The Correctional Services Department is reviewing its partnership with the companies running two of the country's private prisons at a cost of R700-million a year. This was revealed yesterday in Parliament by the department's director-general, Tom Moyane. MPs yesterday lashed out at the department for paying two companies a combined R700-million a year to run jails for it - though it had spent the same amount to build a new prison in Kimberley, in Northern Cape. The contracts between the department and the owners of the private prisons are in force for the next 25 years. "Twenty-five years of paying R700-million [a year]? I'm sure I can buy facilities with that amount of money if I save the money," said Vincent Smith, chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on prisons, and an ANC MP . In response, Moyane admitted that the public-private partnerships were not meeting the department's expectations. "The current public-private partnerships, one in Mangaung and one in Limpopo, do not address, fundamentally, the needs of the organisation," he said. He told the committee that Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has started a policy review of the partnerships with the aim of giving the department full control of the private jails. The department is not involved in their management.

June 10, 2010 Sowetan
MORE THAN 3000 prisoners at the privately owned Kutama-Sinthumule Maximum Prison in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, were left hungry yesterday after a wildcat strike by warders. The 300 strikers forced prison management to flee the premises, while an estimated 3500 inmates did not receive their food. The warders allegedly demanded that the prison management implement occupation specific dispensation (OSD). The strike also raised concerns about prisoners living with HIV-Aids because they allegedly could not get their medication and food yesterday. “The sick prisoners are suffering,” Golden Miles-Bhudu, president of the South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights said yesterday. “This is very sad. Prisoners should not suffer because of differences between employees and management. The strike will compromise the immune systems of those suffering from HIV-Aids because they need food and medication on a regular basis.” The strikers, mainly members of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), went on a wildcat strike after accusing management of delaying the implementation of OSD. The union said it wanted management to implement a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) resolution, which dictated that workers be paid according to the OSD agreement. Popcru claimed the union was never consulted before members received their salaries. Popcru spokesperson Norman Mampane said prison management had failed to act in terms of the recommendations of the OSD and that was why members had gone on strike. Mampane said the union had negotiated in good faith but management had undermined them by dragging its feed and not honouring the agreement. “We negotiated in good faith but when it came to implementation management acted in bad faith. This is a clear demonstration of abuse of power by management. They have provoked the workers,” Mampane said. Popcru provincial secretary Morris Sithole said they were unhappy about management’s failure to properly implement OSD. He said the union was equally not impressed by members forcing prison authorities off the premises. “We are going to engage prison management so that they can recalculate the figures and pay the workers on an acceptable scale. We also appeal to workers to return to work,” Sithole said.

December 17, 2009 Sowetan
THE management of the Sinthumule-Kutama Private Prison in Louis Trichardt is in the spotlight over the escape of two dangerous prisoners. The police said the two prisoners escaped on Tuesday morning and no valid explanation of how they escaped has been given. The two, Johannes Khoza, 30, and Esho Naibe, 24, both from Zimbabwe, were convicted of different crimes ranging from murder, rape, robbery and housebreaking to indecent assault. Makhado police spokesperson Captain Maano Sadike said they had launched a manhunt while investigating the escape of the two prisoners. Khoza was convicted of murder and robbery in April 2006, while Naibe was serving a jail term for rape, housebreaking and indecent assault. It is alleged that the two used a saw to cut through the burglar bars and escape through the electric and barbed wire fence. The prison authorities said they suspected the escapees used a saw but also indicated they were still waiting for the surveillance report from camera operators. Head of prison security Nyiko Mathebula denied allegations that the security system in the prison was weak since they failed to detect the escape. “We hope the report will detail what really happened ,” he said. The police said their manhunt was still under way and they appealed to those who know the suspects to help them.

December 16, 2009 The Zimdiaspora
A 40-year-old Zimbabwean man is one of two prisoners who escaped from South Africa’s Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre Tuesday morning, the department of Correctional Services revealed today. Manelisi Wolela, the department’s spokesperson, said in a statement released this morning that Chico Naibe, a Zimbabwean national and Johannes Antonnio Khoza (29) were the two “dangerous criminals” that escaped from Correctional Centre during the early hours of Tuesday morning, adding that a massive manhunt was already underway to nab the duo, who were serving life sentences. “The two were serving life sentences for a range of violent crimes including murder, armed robbery and rape,” said Wolela. The management of the prison, which is located in South Africa’s northern province of Limpopo, reported that the offenders apparently sew burglar bars and used clothing to jump over the high perimeter fence. “The Department of Correctional Services is appealing to members of the public to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in efforts to bring the escapees back to lawful custody,” added Wolela. “Members of the public are however warned not to try to apprehend the fugitives as they are considered extremely dangerous. “The public should contact the SAPS's emergency number 10111 or contact the police's lead investigator on this matter, Captain Sudiki 082 565 8233.” Wolela said that the Department of Correctional Services had instituted an urgent investigation that must be concluded within two weeks to establish circumstances that led to the escape. “Subject to the findings, the Department may institute penalties in line with the contractual obligations on contractors managing privately run correctional centres. The penalties are aimed at discouraging security lapses in the privately run correctional centres.”

May 24, 2006 Cape Times
Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour wants another remission of sentence for petty criminals, but says a decision is ultimately the president's prerogative. A presidential decree in 2005 saw 30 000 prisoners released from jails countrywide. But he was also critical about public/private prisons which he accused of being run "as if they are fiefdoms". The proposed public finance model prisons was a better option than the public private prisons which Balfour said racked up huge costs to run.

April 5, 2006 SABC News
About 12 nursing staff of the Kutama-Sinthumule private prison in Limpopo are staying away from work saying they don't feel safe in the prison. They have joined about 200 striking warders in the labour action. The labour withdrawal by the nurses comes as the Provincial Parliament Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security meets to discuss the safety of prisoners. The striking warders are continuing to protest 500m away from the prison. A minimum number of warders resumed for duty this morning after an appeal by management for them to come back to work. The other striking warders say they will continue their stoppage until their demands are addressed. The Parliament Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security is still locked in a meeting with prison management in a bid to ensure safety of prisoners and the surrounding community.

March 31, 2006 SABC News
More than 200 striking prison warders at the Kutama Sinthumule private prison outside Makhado in Limpopo say they won't return to work until they receive outstanding salary allowances. The protest follows yesterday's resolutions between the workers union, Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (Popcru), and management. Late yesterday, the parties agreed that workers would resume their duties pending the arbitration process. The workers are unhappy about their housing and danger allowances. They say these have not been paid to them since 2002. They say management must pay them these allowances before they can resume their duties.

March 1, 2006 Mail & Guardian
Order has returned to the privately owned Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre in Makhado, Limpopo, a spokesperson said on Wednesday -- this after a strike by prison officials led to the death of a 37-year-old inmate and the injury of another. South African Custodial Management MD Stephen Korabie said the Department of Correctional Services and the police were called in on Tuesday night to help manage the situation. Limpopo police spokesperson Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi said prisoners also went on strike and rubber bullets were fired to stop them running away at 9.45pm. "Extensive damage was caused to one of the four units of the centre that accommodates approximately 1 152 maximum-category offenders," said Korabie. He said plans were being made to find alternative accommodation for about 800 prisoners while the damaged unit was being restored. Korabie said the Department of Correctional Services had loaned the centre some staff to help provide basic custodial and security functions, pending the settlement of the dispute with the warders.

Mangaung Maximum Security Prison
Bloemfontein, South Africa
Group 4
Mar 4, 2021

'No comment' on stabbings at Mangaung private prison

British multinational security services company, G4S, is mum on the alleged surge in stabbings at the notorious Mangaung private prison and told OFM News they are not permitted to address media without the Correctional Services Department’s say so. Anonymous sources at the private prison – formally known as the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) on the outskirts of Bloemfontein – allege yet another G4S employee was attacked by an inmate at the weekend, fuelling concerns over the increasing dysfunction at the largest maximum private prison in South Africa, with roughly 3000 of some of the most dangerous inmates in the country. This latest incident coincides with the release of The Misery Merchants: Life and Death in a Private South African Prison by British journalist Ruth Hopkins, which seeks to explain the causes of the rising dysfunction at the “valuable” private prison. Furthermore, it comes a month after OFM News reported on the murder of a 26-year-old inmate, who succumbed to injuries sustained in a violent stabbing incident in late January 2021. The deceased’s mother said at the time that she was not informed by the prison that her son had been attacked and had died. Whilst stating that they are not allowed to comment on specific incidences with permission from DCS, G4S South Africa maintains that the private prison is well run and subject to “daily, monthly and annual oversight” by DCS. In early 2020, the North Gauteng High Court ordered DCS to avail its damning report to the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) regarding allegations of torture and assault at the prison following media reports – specifically by Hopkins – regarding complaints from prisoners to the Wits Justice Project in 2013. The report found that there had indeed been instances of abuse at the prison with Cals considering pursuing further legal challenges against G4S and BCC as a whole. Cals is also calling for an urgent review of privately-run prisons in South Africa. A lot has been said regarding the ownership of the prison, with several Free State politicians and private institutions affiliated with or having a share in the Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts (BCC), the concessionaire company responsible for the management of the MCC.

Mar 4, 2020

Horrific Mangaung Prison abuse laid bare

Pretoria - From a person who died in the “dark room” of the Mangaung Prison and the death recorded as “suicide”, to three prisoners forcibly injected with anti-psychotic medication. These were some of the disturbing preliminary findings in the long awaited report following a 10-month investigation of the facility. These happened while it was under the control of G4S and Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts in 2013. The Department of Correctional Services made its preliminary findings in June 2014, but kept the report under wraps until now. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies fought a fierce legal battle for the release of the report. This followed claims of torture and the inhumane treatment of inmates at the privately-run prison. In late 2013, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies became aware of reports made public by the Wits Justice Project that people incarcerated at the prison had been tortured by staff. At the time, the Mangaung Correctional Centre was run by British security company G4S as part of a public-private partnership. Following the reports and other serious allegations, Correctional Services took control of the prison and began its investigation into the allegations. The department 10 months later concluded its investigations and handed control of the prison back to G4S. It is one of the largest privately run prisons in the world. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies requested access to the information related to the investigation using the Promotion of Access to Information Act. After six years and following a recent order made by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, the centre was finally given access to the report held by the department. It requested the report as part of its work on prison conditions and its interest in the state outsourcing its constitutional obligations to private companies. The report detailed several incidents, including Taser guns bought apparently without any of the officers being trained to use them, to the alleged overdosing of prisoners on their medication. In addition to the report, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies also received the long-awaited response from Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts. The entity had subcontracted the running of the prison to G4S. The response detailed either bare denials that the incidents ever occurred or denials of any wrongdoing. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies said that while it was pleased that it was finally able to review the full report, attorney Sithuthukile Mkhize said the investigations still seemed incomplete. While the report sets out the incidents and invites the companies to give reasons why they should not be held in violation of their duties, they remained mum on any final conclusion. “There is more than enough information here to question why. We are considering pursuing further legal challenges as well as a review of privately run prisons in South Africa,” Mkhize said. The Mangaung Correctional Centre made headlines in 2013 as being a “hell-hole prison” with allegations of inmates being tortured and even killed. Some of the incidents which the department referred to in its report is the incarceration of inmates in the “dark room”. It is said that the cell consists of a cement bed. According to the report it does not have a toilet, lighting, windows or ventilation. While the G4S investigation report records a death as suicide, a pathologist referred to it as a head wound. In its answer to these allegations, Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts said it was not a dark room, but a “quiet room” which had lighting and ventilation. It said an inmate did commit suicide there, but the incident was investigated and later resolved. It said that since 2008 the “quiet room” was no longer used to accommodate inmates, but as a storeroom. In defending the preliminary finding that several inmates were forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs, the private prison body simply said it either no longer had the implicated inmates’ files to check, or in other cases, it said this never happened. It was said that one of the inmates suffered from schizophrenia and refused to take his medication, but not even in his case were there records that it was administered by force. Regarding the Taser gun allegations, it admitted that two of these were bought, but one was returned as it was defective. The other was kept in the armoury room as the private prison was not satisfied with its quality. It said it initially bought the two guns to evaluate its use as a non-lethal weapon.

Feb 11, 2020

Human rights lawyers win access to Mangaung prison riot report

After years of stonewalling by ministers and officials in the Department of Correctional Services, human rights lawyers from the Centre for Applied Legal Studies have gained access to a report into riots at the Mangaung private prison. It took six years of missed deadlines and ignored letters before the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) finally won access to a report into violent riots at the Mangaung Prison in Bloemfontein, compiled by the Department of Correctional Services. The facility is one of two privately-run prisons in South Africa and houses 3,000 high-security prisoners. While the company running the prison, G4S, opposed the application by CALS on the grounds that the report would contain confidential information it is not allowed to make public, Pretoria High Court Judge Pierre Rabie ruled that its counsel could not put up a single legal ground for the report to be exempted from the Promotion of Access to Information Act. It was reported that in October 2013 the Department of Correctional Services had to take over control of the prison from G4S following a spate of knife attacks and hostage situations when close to two-thirds of the staff were dismissed. It was reported that the takeover was necessitated because G4S had “lost control” of the facility. CALS requested access to the report held by the Department of Correctional Services, after claims that prisoners incarcerated at Mangaung had been tortured by security personnel, attorney Sithuthukile Mkhize said. “We will still have a discussion about what action we will be taking after  receiving the report, but… it is highly likely that we will be taking some form of legal challenge against both the Department of Correctional Services and G4S,” she said. “In late 2013, CALS became aware of a number of complaints made public by the Wits Justice Project that people incarcerated at the G4S-run Mangaung Correctional Centre had been tortured by the private security company’s personnel. Following these reports and a number of other serious incidents at Mangaung, the Department of Correctional Services took control of the prison and began an investigation. Within 10 months, the department had concluded its investigation and handed control back to G4S.” Since then CALS has been trying to get access to the results of this investigation. In November 2014, the Department of Correctional Services confirmed the takeover in response to a question by DA MP James Selfe. The department said the takeover was “in the interest of safety and security” as the management of the prison “had lost effective control”. It added that the minimum number of staff were not on duty at the prison and uncertified officers were performing “custodial functions.” The care of prisoners was “seriously compromised”. “That unsatisfactory situation had led to several unacceptable events and occurrences at the [prison], such as, holding of an official hostage by offenders, burning of mattresses, beddings, work stations and breaking of toilet pots. The offenders and officials were stabbed and there was general decline in the maintenance of discipline and order in the [prison],” the department said. At the time, notices for breach of contract were issued by the department but these were disputed by G4S. In May 2015, the department indicated in response to another question by Selfe that the “investigation into alleged abuse at the prison was ongoing as responses from the Bloemfontein Correctional Consortium (BCC), the entity that subcontracted the management of the prison to G4S, have prompted a number of further investigations”. According to Rabie’s judgment, the department simply ignored an application in August 2014 by CALS for access to this report. An internal appeal against this de facto refusal for access was also refused. CALS then turned to court, arguing that it was in the public interest for it to gain access as they believed the report would reveal serious contraventions of domestic and international law and describe conditions of detention that were cruel, inhuman and degrading and amounted to torture. The department did not oppose the legal action, indicating it would abide by the ruling of the court. G4S was initially not cited in the legal action, but the company applied to intervene in the matter. G4S’s legal team asked for the matter to be heard behind closed doors. This was dismissed by the court. G4S claimed that the report contained information that “may not be disclosed”. This included the names and identity markers of employees, inmates, doctors, nurses and health workers; witness signatures of incident reports, police case numbers and plans, diagrams and photos of the prison. G4S offered to make a redacted portion of the report available to CALS, saying that giving full details would have an adverse impact on those mentioned, but also on the “safety and security of inmates, employees and potentially the broader public”. Rabie ordered a punitive cost order against G4S to “mark the court’s disapproval” of the way the case was conducted. In a statement following the judgment, G4S said, “It is anticipated that G4S South Africa’s investment will end in 2026, when [the current] contract expires. In line with the G4S Group strategy, G4S South Africa has no plans to invest further in correctional services in South Africa. “In 2013, G4S South Africa received reports of alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Mangaung prison and, in response, proposed that a retired judge carry out an independent investigation into the allegations.” The statement added that the judge had found there was no evidence to support the allegations.

Dec 2, 2019

Private prison in Bloem has minister ‘concerned’ after allegations of torture

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has expressed concern after learning of ‘disturbing allegations’ of torture of inmates at the Free State’s Mangaung Correctional Centre. This comes in the wake of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) today filing an application before the High Court in Pretoria ordering the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to publicly release a report on alleged torture of prisoners – for years kept under wraps. The Cals application is expected to lift the lid on the most inhumane conditions and incidents of brutality which have taken place at Mangaung, outside Bloemfontein, since 2013. “The minister is disturbed to hear of such allegations of torture, said to have taken place at the Mangaung Correctional Centre,” said ministry spokesperson Chrispin Phiri. “Should these be proven to be true, this surely goes against the values and principles of what our first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, stood for. “We will be working closely with the Judicial Inspectorate Commission to address any breach of the law and malfeasance that could have taken place at the Mangaung Correctional Centre.” According to human rights attorney Sithuthukile Mkhize, Cals – a law clinic and civil society organisation based at Wits University – which has been investigating brutality claims made by prisoners, has for over five years sought legal avenues to force the DCS to grant it access to the report under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). Mkhize said that by late 2013, Cals became aware of numerous reports made public by the Wits Justice Project, pointing to torture of inmates at Mangaung by G4S staff. G4S is a British-owned security company, awarded a contract by the DCS to run the prison. While the DCS has not responded to the Cals application, the G4S filed papers opposing it on the grounds that the report contained “sensitive information” with names of inmates and company employees, with G4S only willing to release a redacted version if ordered by the court. “A bare assertion that some sensitive information exists is insufficient to deal with the G4S burden to substantiate this ground of refusal,” maintained Cals in its heads of argument. “G4S also seeks to invoke confidentiality provisions of being a private body, which is not legally permissible.” Said Mkhize: “Opposing the release of the report begs the question of what issues either the department or G4S are trying to keep hidden. “The PAIA process is obviously flawed if these powerful entities can cause years’ worth of delays before a matter is even heard by the court.” She said when reports surfaced on serious incidents of torture of inmates at Mangaung, the DCS took control of the prison and began an investigation. But 10 months later, the DCS handed back control of the prison to G4S in what Cals has described as “one of the largest privately run prisons in the world”. The case raised “important questions around the right of access to information and the consequences of outsourcing constitutional obligations to the private sector”. Despite Cals in 2014 having used PAIA to get information relating to the DCS investigation into Mangaung, the DCS failed to respond to the initial request and relied on an internal decision not to grant access. “Cals then approached the high court in early 2015 in an attempt to overturn this internal decision and to gain access to the investigative report,” read the Cals application. “Since then, the matter has suffered a number of delays with G4S asking to be joined to the litigation, failing to file answering papers on time despite a court order and launching an application to have the proceedings closed to the public. While the application was firmly dismissed by the court, it has had the effect of frustrating the legal process.”

Dec 7, 2018
South Africa: G4S wants secrets kept secret
British multinational security company G4S wants the high court in Pretoria to suppress evidence that could reveal widespread torture and abuse of prisoners at its Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein. G4S has demanded that the medical files of inmates are not to be made public. The inmates allege that the multinational tortured and injected them against their will with antipsychotic drugs. The medical files could contain evidence of these transgressions. G4S still holds the contract to run Mangaung prison, despite being forced to hand over control to the state for 10 months in 2013. That year a Wits Justice Project investigation into the prison revealed widespread use of electroshocking, assaults, forced medication and lengthy isolation of inmates. After the exposé, the department of correctional services (DCS) announced an investigation into the allegations and promised to release a report within weeks. The department has refused to release the report or to give reasons for not releasing it, despite numerous requests. In 2015 the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand brought a freedom of information case against the prisons department to demand the release of the report. The department has ignored the court case, which, under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, means that the judge would have to rule in the department’s absence. But in 2017, just before that could happen, G4S asked to be added to the case as an interested party. G4S’s first demand in this interlocutory procedure was that the court should not order the disclosure of the medical files unless the hearing is in camera. G4S also wants its affidavit to remain confidential because, according to court documents, it contains “confidential information pertaining to medical records, and/or names and/or other personal details of employees of G4S, certain policies followed by G4S … and commercially sensitive information relating to G4S”. But the Promotion of Access to Information Act provides for the release of information by the department with redacted personal details. G4S has not responded to questions about why it wants the court to review the files behind closed doors. It has previously said it is contractually bound to refer all media questions to the department. Logan Maistry, spokesperson for the department, responded to a list of detailed questions by saying: “DCS confirms that this was an interlocutory application, brought by G4S. DCS did not participate in this interlocutory application, and will abide by the decision of the court. We await the court decision.” Yet in a separate civil case that the G4S inmates started against the company, aimed at securing compensation for the alleged suffering they have endured, the company claimed it was not in possession of the medical files, adding that it was not the company’s responsibly to get the information. The company demanded that the inmates provide it with the files. In an email exchange between G4S’s lawyers at Norton Rose and the inmates’ lawyers at the Legal Resources Centre, Hannes Marais of Norton Rose wrote: “It is not for our client to obtain the requested information from third parties.” The third party he was referring to is Faranani Healthcare, the medical corporation under whose watch inmates were allegedly forcibly injected with antipsychotic drugs and electroshocked. In 2013 and 2014, the department put together a task team consisting of top-level officials who were to investigate the allegations of electroshocking, the unlawful use of violence, suspicious deaths in the prison and a host of other irregular issues. Their work was highlighted in the department’s magazine, Mangaung: Keeping it Tight. According to this publication, the task team interviewed inmates, accessed medical files and scrutinised other records at the prison. In one interview a researcher claimed there were many irregularities at the prison’s pharmacy. After a year, the department issued a report with preliminary findings that was sent to G4S. The company and shareholders to the prison contract drafted a response to these findings and this document was leaked to the Wits Justice Project. In the report the company mentioned repeatedly it was attaching the medical files of inmates. The medical records were not part of the leaked report, but it clearly indicated the company was in possession of the inmates’ medical files, which it shared with the department. Three independent sources at the department, who did not want to be named, claimed that the department intentionally “disappeared” evidence of the allegations of torture and forced medication. The department failed to respond to this allegation, despite repeated requests. Zach Modise, the former national commissioner of the department, led the task team’s investigation. In 2017, just before he retired, he was accused of corruption and defying requests from the treasury relating to a department tender with the company Fence & Gates, which has a contract with the G4S-run prison. Inmates at Mangaung prison have repeatedly tried get their medical files from Faranani Healthcare, which runs the prison hospital and pharmacy. One inmate, who fears retribution if he gives his name, said: “It’s very difficult to access your medical files. The prison management told me it is confidential and therefore I need to go through a legal representative, which I can’t afford.” The judge is expected to rule shortly on G4S’s request to file affidavits and hear arguments in camera about whether medical files should be released by the department. G4S declined to comment on this story. Private prisons were built with a view to addressing unacceptable levels of prison overcrowding. Kutama Sinthumule prison in Makhado is run by the American GEO group and G4S runs Mangaung prison. The prisons cost the state about R800-million a year to run, which is about 5% of the department’s budget. The government planned to privatise a further four prisons, but in 2011 the then minister of correctional services, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, abruptly reversed that decision, following a policy review. She said: “We are determined that the current system of milking the resources of the state and abdicating the state role to run correctional centres should be reviewed and done away with.”

Feb 14, 2015
A group of South African prisoners are suing G4S over abuse they allege they suffered in a Bloemfontein prison run by the British security company. British law firm Leigh Day, which is representing the 43 prisoners, sent an urgent letter to the company’s UK headquarters in Crawley on Thursday. The inmates claim they were given electric shocks, forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs and held in isolation cells for up to three years. The firm is also acting for the mother of an inmate who died in custody. “The instructions we have received from our clients attest to a culture of abuse and fear that appears to have been endemic in Mangaung Correctional Centre for years,” the letter to G4S reads. “Many allegations involve inmates being taken to solitary cells where there are no cameras, stripped naked and forced on to a metal bed with water thrown on them before being repeatedly shocked with electric shields, including to the head and genitals.” If the claim is successful, it will be a landmark case for prisoners held by the biggest security provider in the world, with revenues worth £7.4bn. G4S won a 25-year R15bn (about £820m) contract from the South African government to construct, run and manage the prison in 2000. Leigh Day has asked G4S to respond to the claim within three months and it is expected to go to the high court in London later this year. In October 2013, the Wits Justice Project exposed allegations that so-called emergency security team warders routinely assaulted inmates. Prisoners, warders and other sources have claimed that the EST, also known as the Ninjas, would kick and punch the inmates and shock them with electric shields, after dousing them with water. Leaked video footage shot inside the prison apparently showed an inmate with no record of mental illness being forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs. Twelve of Leigh Day’s clients claim they were forcibly injected. This violence at Mangaung prison was exacerbated by the dismissal of about 330 warders in September 2013 after a lengthy strike. When the situation in the jail descended into chaos, the government’s department of correctional services took control of the prison. In August last year, G4S was handed back control of the prison. A government investigation into the alleged abuse has been finalised but not yet released. Leigh Day attorney Tessa Gregory said: “This is not the first time that G4S and its subsidiaries, operating across the globe, have faced accusations of human rights abuses. It is important that companies, even those as large as G4S, understand that there will be consequences if they do not respect the human rights of those they are paid to provide security to.” G4S has denied the allegations. A spokesman said: “G4S insists on the highest standards of care and we do not tolerate the mistreatment of prisoners. When these allegations arose in 2013 the department for correctional services investigated the claims and returned the operation of the facility to us on 1 August 2014, having not presented any evidence to substantiate the accusations.”

Nov 8, 2013

The Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services has made its views clear on the establishment of more private prisons in the country. Speaking during a Committee Meeting, the Committee Chairperson, Mr Vincent Smith, said: "You can leave here knowing that the sentiment of the Portfolio Committee is that we are not in favour (of such outsourcing)." The meeting received a briefing on the state of correctional services in the country from the Minister of Correctional Service, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, who Mr Ndebele told the Committee that the Department now had doubts about the effectiveness of private contractors running prisons. He was referring to allegations of torture and brutality made by employees at Mangaung prison, in the Free State. Mangaung, and Kutama Sinthumule prison, in Limpopo, are the only privately operated prisons in the country. Employees allege that prisoners were forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs and subjected to electroshock therapy. The Department of Correctional Services took control of Mangaung early last month after a hostage-taking incident and labour unrest. The multi-party Portfolio Committee made it clear that outsourcing should be reconsidered. Chief Deputy Commissioner of incarceration and corrections Mr James Smalberger said: "At the institution, we have almost 3 000 offenders and you have one person there that is assigned to do certain things." Mr Ndebele also said the two privately-run prisons were very expensive and were expected to cost the state about R20bn over the 25 years of the contract. Mr Smith said over the 25 years of the contract - which ends in 2025 - R800m would be spent on the two prisons each year, meaning that the total bill would be close to R20bn. "We (South Africa) could have built 18 prisons for that amount of money. Is there a need to look again at this issue?" Mr Smith asked. Acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Ms Nontsikelelo Jolingana, said the public-private partnerships had not been carefully thought through and the Cabinet had decided not to proceed with four other private prisons. Mr Ndebele added that the private prisons were an experiment that did not work. In the UK, where private prisons were pioneered, he said "They are coming to a similar conclusion that they do not work very well." Committee Member Mr James Selfe said a controller from the Department was supposed to monitor the situation in private prisons. "What was the controller doing at Mangaung?" he asked. Ms Jolingana replied that allegations against the controller were part of the broader investigation into the private prison at Mangaung.

Nov 5, 2013

CAPE TOWN – The decision to allow private security companies to run prisons is an experiment which has not worked very well, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Tuesday. The department took control of the Mangaung Correctional Centre  in the Free State in October from private security company G4S. The facility was hit by controversy following a hostage crisis there. Reports also emerged that inmates were being forcibly injected with anti-psychotic medication and warders were using electroshock techniques to control prisoners. Ndebele says only two prisons in the country were run by private companies. Mangaung was one of them. “I think the United Kingdom is also coming to the same conclusion as us - it doesn’t work very well. We were supposed to have six prisons being run by private companies, but we only had two. Cabinet took a decision that we wouldn’t go beyond the two that we had.” In 2000, government entered into a private-public partnership to maintain and manage the Mangaung Correctional Centre.

27 October 2013

South Africa G4S prison staff accused of abuse Leaked video footage shows a prisoner resisting an injection. Staff at one of South Africa's most dangerous prisons, run by British firm G4S, have been accused of "shocking" abuses and of losing control. The South African government has temporarily taken over the running of Mangaung prison from G4S and launched an official investigation. It comes after inmates claimed they had been subjected to electric shocks and forced injections.  G4S says it has seen no evidence of abuse by its employees. The BBC has obtained leaked footage filmed inside the high security prison, in which one can hear the click of electrified shields, and shrieking. It also shows a prisoner resisting a medication. Researchers at the Wits Justice Project at Wits University in Johannesburg say they have collected accounts of electric shocks and beatings from almost 30 prisoners during a year-long investigation. Africa correspondent Andrew Harding: "S African authorities say the situation at the maximum security Mangaung Prison is shocking and out of control" "Some said they would pass out when the shocks became too intense," said Ruth Hopkins, a journalist with the Wits Justice Project. She said inmates also complained about suffering broken limbs and other serious injuries. One former prisoner told the BBC electric shocks were used as "torture", while a sacked security guard said water was thrown over inmates to increase the impact of the charge. "If anything specific is brought to us that is a specific case you have my commitment... that we'll investigate fully and completely” Andy Baker G4S for Africa A lawyer for some of the prisoners has condemned a culture of impunity amongst prison staff, according to the BBC's Africa correspondent Andrew Harding. G4S has blamed an upsurge of violence at the prison on a labour dispute, our correspondent adds. More than 300 guards there were sacked this month after going on an unofficial strike. Nontsikelelo Jolingana, the acting national commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, told the BBC her department had launched a formal investigation into the claims of abuse. The South African prison authorities announced last month they were temporarily taking over the running of the prison near Bloemfontein, in the central Free State province, after the private security contractor "lost effective control of the facility". Andy Baker, regional president of G4S for Africa, said administering and prescribing injections was not the domain of G4S staff, but of a separate medical staff. When asked about allegations of electric shocking and beatings, he told the BBC there had "never been an abuse of this type or nature" to his knowledge. But he said: "If anything specific is brought to us that is a specific case you have my commitment and the rest of our organisation's commitment that we'll investigate fully and completely."


25 Oct 2013 Mail & Guardian

Forced anti-psychotics and shock therapy are par for the course at the correctional facility. The Mangaung prison in the Free State, run by the beleaguered multinational private security company G4S, is allegedly forcibly injecting inmates with antipsychotic medication and using electroshocks to subdue and control prisoners. This is according to at least 35 sources – prisoners as well as security guards, prison and health officials – and based on medical records seen by reliable sources, legal documents and video footage shot inside the prison. A 12-month-long investigation into the prison has uncovered video footage shot inside the prison hospital that shows prisoners being given medication against their will, as well as the use of electroshocks and assaults on prisoners. •Mangaung prison: Drugs, shock and torture by 'Ninjas'  The medication causes memory loss, muscle rigidity and other serious, potentially life-threatening side effects, and by law is only meant to be used under strictly controlled circumstances. But these drugs have been used at the prison up to five times a week, sometimes on inmates who show no sign of being psychotic. Letters from prisoners tipped off the Wits Justice Project about conditions at Mangaung prison, sparking a year-long investigation that has involved talking to warders, inmates, department of correctional services officials and others at the prison. The department assumed command of the prison on October 9, after it established that the management had lost "effective control over the prison" following a lengthy spate of stabbings, riots, strikes and a hostage-taking. The department was obliged to step in after G4S dismissed 330 warders and replaced them with uncertified staff, which is unlawful. 'I feel like a zombie' Inmate Sello Mogale looks like a big, burly baby, curled up in the foetal position on a bench in the visiting section of Mangaung prison earlier this month. A warder shakes his arm and he opens his eyes. He slowly gets up and walks to the interview room with unsteady steps. Mogale is followed by inmates Willem Vis, Joseph Maruping, David Kambhule and Aubrey Buthelezi. The men, dressed in the light-blue prison uniform, crowd into the small interview room. Vis says: "It feels like my jaw is falling off. I feel dizzy, my muscles are spastic and my memory has gone." The other inmates nod as Vis relates the side effects of the anti-psychotic medicine called Clopixol Depot. He says that the prison started injecting him halfway through 2012 when he complained of hearing voices in his head and a general feeling of depression. Scenes from video footage shot inside Mangaung prison. (Supplied) When he refused the medication, the prison's emergency security team – known in the jail as the "Ninjas" or the "Zulus" – was called. They are a 16-man team who are called when the warders cannot handle the situation. Vis alleges that six of them, armed with electroshock shields and Tasers, held him down on the bed, while a nurse injected the antipsychotic drugs into his buttocks. Mogale, who was sentenced to life for rape in 2008, arrived at the maximum security prison in 2012. He says that the forced monthly injections of Clopixol Depot started soon after his arrival, when he complained of depression and suicidal thoughts. "I sleep all the time, I cannot stay awake. My mouth is dry and my hands are jumpy. I feel like a zombie or a robot." Medicated: A staff member at the hospital, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing employment, told the Wits Justice Project that Mogale and Vis are given Clopixol Depot once a month. According to the hospital worker, inmates who are considered aggressive, difficult or suffering from mental problems are also given Modecate and Risperdal, antipsychotic medication with known side effects. Fourteen members of the emergency security team, who spoke to the Wits Justice Project on condition of anonymity, said they helped restrain inmates who were injected involuntarily, up to five times a week. They also said that the injections are authorised through the command structures – which all lead to the head of the prison, Johan Theron. A video shot on July 24 by the emergency security team, which is legally required to film its actions, reveals how Bheki Dlamini, who is serving a 21-year sentence for armed robbery, is forcefully injected. The team leader of the emergency security team announces that Dlamini is disturbing the peace and good order of the prison. "We are moving him to healthcare in order to get his medication." Although Dlamini understands and co-operates with all their instructions, the team leader claims: "You can see the state of mind of the inmate. It is very risky." Life-threatening: In the hospital a warder says that the injection has been approved. When they tell Dlamini he will be injected, he protests loudly. "I am not a donkey, I am not an animal." He yells: "No, no, no" while the security team grabs him, twist his arms behind his back and drag him to a room where they wrestle him to a bed and a nurse is called. According to the hospital worker, who has seen Dlamini's medical records, he was given an antipsychotic drug called Etomine, which has a potentially life-threatening side effect known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome; it causes muscle rigidity and fever and in extreme cases it can lead to strokes and coma. Dlamini is not psychotic or schizophrenic. Attorney Egon Oswald spoke to Dlamini on October18. "Dlamini had complained to a warder that he did not like the vienna sausages they served him; he demanded that the warder should bring him 'real meat'," said Oswald. "They got into an argument and the warder told him the emergency security team would deal with him." The video stops as the "Ninjas" pin Dlamini to the bed and they call out to a nurse. According to Dlamini the nurse initially refused to administer the drugs, as she claimed it was unlawful to inject someone without a prescription. But the "Ninjas" insisted she inject the inmate, as it had been approved. Dlamini allegedly suffered from the side effects of the drugs. "He complained about fidgeting hands, dryness of the mouth, neck spasms and a feeling of lethargy," said Oswald. Involuntary medication: According to the Mental Health Care Act, forced medication should leave a lengthy paper trail. It is only allowed if a guardian, spouse or family member has given permission or, if they are unavailable, a healthcare worker. Also, two healthcare practitioners must assess the mental health of the inmate. They have to report to the head of the health institution, who can then decide to treat the patient involuntarily based on the clinicians' report and the approval of family members or guardians. Involuntary medication is only permissible if the patient is a danger to himself or others and if he is incapable of making an informed decision. Professor Jan van Rensburg, associate professor at the department of psychiatry at the University of the Witwatersrand, said: "It is illegal to medicate patients with these drugs if they are not experiencing a psychosis. The side effects are very severe. If the prison is medicating the inmates with these drugs just because they are aggressive or as a measure of crowd control, then there is a huge problem." Inmate James Mothulwe, who is serving a 35-year sentence at Mangaung prison for rape and murder, is debilitated by the side effects of the drugs. They forcefully injected him for five years, he says. Mangaung Correctional Centre outside Bloemfontein is at the centre of a storm of allegations of torture and forced medicating. (Supplied) In 2004, Mothulwe experienced extreme side effects: he was no longer able to straighten his neck, he lost all feeling in his left hand, he could no longer walk normally and he had fits that caused him to pass out. Despite his prolonged protests, he claims the prison kept ordering the injections. In 2007, Mothulwe needed a neck brace because his neck is in spastic paralysis. He was still wearing it in April, when the Wits Justice Project interviewed him. His body makes involuntary spastic movements; there is excess saliva dribbling from his lips. Mothulwe says he has lost feeling in the left side of his body. Unexplained deaths: Modecate, Risperdal and Clopixol Depot are known to have severe side effects; in extreme cases they can cause strokes and cardiac arrest. Sudden unexpected and unexplained deaths as well as seizures and brain damage are listed as side effects of Modecate. In 2012, pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson was fined more than $1.1-billion for downplaying and hiding risks associated with the potentially life-threatening side effects of Risperdal, which include increased risk of strokes, death in elderly patients, seizures, weight gain and diabetes. Clopixol Depot is equally dangerous, with side effects ranging from strokes to involuntary movements of face and tongue, muscle stiffness, drowsiness and sleepiness. When these side effects occur, the medication should be stopped or decreased. In 2009, the prison is alleged to have gone a step further and injected a warder. Former G4S employee Pule Moholo was taken hostage in 2009 by 11 inmates. After a 16-hour ordeal, Moholo and his colleagues were freed and then whisked off to the prison hospital. Moholo said: "I was told not to talk to anyone, especially the media. A nurse injected me in the buttocks. I hardly remember anything after that moment. I had to be taken out of the hospital in a wheelchair. Two days went by in a blurry haze. I lost my appetite and felt very stiff and disconnected, like a zombie." When Moholo finally came to, he said, G4S had started a disciplinary procedure to dismiss him. 


Forced medicating is 'illegal' and unacceptable: Nontsikelelo Jolingana, the ­acting commissioner of the department of correctional ­services, said the department is carrying out an investigation into the problems at the Mangaung prison. The forced medicating of inmates is, she said, "illegal and unacceptable". "We are also investigating the [prison] controller to see why these very serious and shocking allegations were not reported to us," said Jolingana. She said the official appointed to oversee and report on the prison's compliance with the law is supposed to report any legal infringement.  The department has been aware of some of the allegations as the 2010 confidential department report was seen by then- minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Jolingana said she would have to try to find this information. Commenting on G4S, she said: "I can't predict any scenario, but this is very serious."

The department will compile a preliminary report by the end of October.


Prison operator claims everything is done by the book: "G4S denies any assaults or use of torture, either by means of electroshocking or medical substances, on inmates. It also has a zero tolerance policy against the use of undue or excessive force. "The clinical management and diagnosis of inmate patients are managed by a reputable third-party medical facility, which treats a patient's medical information as confidential. G4S therefore has no access to the specific medical records of inmate Bheki Dlamini. The medical practitioners are bound by ethical codes and the law. "G4S and its personnel are not involved in the decision to apply, nor do we apply medication. We have not witnessed the illegal application of medication and do not condone it. "Emergency support team operations are meticulously recorded and subject to review by DCS [the department of correctional services]. "The solitary confinement room, referred to as the dark room, was built as part of the concession contract and was never used as a torture room. Since 2002, it has been used as a storeroom. "Inmates have unrestricted and confidential access to the DCS controller, employees from the office of the inspecting judge, the director, healthcare personnel and psychologists, with whom they can log complaints and raise concerns. "If any laws were broken, DCS would have strongly acted against G4S. We are taking legal advice to address the serious defamatory allegations made against G4S."

October 10, 2013

S.Africa to supervise troubled privately-run prison. South Africa has placed a prison run by a private British security firm under state supervision following two hostage takings in a year, officials said on Thursday. "The contractor has lost effective control of the facility," Prisons Commissioner Nontsikelelo Jolingana said in a statement after inspecting the Mangaung Correctional Centre near the central city of Bloemfontein. Jolingana said he was appointing an interim manager to oversee the running of the prison, which is currently operated by Britain's G4S security firm, citing a "a worrying deterioration of safety and security." The move came a week after four inmates at the facility held hostage a female employee for over 12 hours. The woman was reportedly an administrative assistant standing in as a guard after more than 300 wardens were sacked for an illegal strike several weeks ago. She was grabbed by four inmates armed with improvised weapons as she watched over some 70 prisoners and held for some 12 hours before police could free her. In November 2012, two inmates took a nurse and doctor hostage at the same facility, releasing the nurse quickly and freeing the doctor unharmed some 20 hours later. "What we are looking is: is G4S able to get the institution back to normality," said Zacharia Modise, a prisons commissioner in the Gauteng province who was appointed as head of a task force to manage the prison. "They have an issue of staff and an issue of security," Modise told AFP. It was unclear how long authorities will remain in control of the facility, said Modise, adding that "it's a temporary intervention" and that a report on the prison is expected to be ready by Friday.

7 October 2013 Our Kingdom
Privatisation's flagship African jail is beset by kidnap, rape and stabbings. In Oakwood Prison, England, hooch, drugs and violence thrive. What's the problem? For-profit prisons? Or G4S? There's trouble at Mangaung Correctional Centre, near Bloemfontein, South Africa. Last Wednesday four inmates seized a female guard and held her hostage for 12 hours. The next day another guard was stabbed at the maximum security jail. The union blamed rising violence on G4S, the company that operates the jail under a 25 year government contract. The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union claimed that G4S had sacked more than 300 guards for striking in protest against dangerous conditions. The sackings left the remaining workers and inadequately trained reserves at the mercy of 3,000 inmates, the union said. G4S denied that staff-prisoner ratios had been jeopardised, insisting that replacement warders had plugged the gap. credit: Wits Justice Project Last month the union sent G4S management a detailed complaint listing 30 assaults on its members. The rape of a nurse in her consulting room, four attacks with boiling water and sixteen stabbings were the "tip of the iceberg", the union said. The complaint (in my possession) accuses G4S of purging and intimidating union officials at the prison. In May this year researchers at the Johannesburg-based Wits Justice Project got their hands on a confidential government report that listed 62 Mangaung inmates who were detained in single cells for periods ranging from two weeks to three years, against prison rules. Last week G4S Africa head Andy Baker told South African media: "The Mangaung Correctional Centre has an impeccable track record in maintaining the safety of both inmates and employees." In Britain G4S braces itself ahead of what is likely to be a shattering report tomorrow from the Prisons Inspectorate on its flagship PFI prison — Oakwood, which opened in April last year. Oakwood, a Category C Prison in the West Midlands, newly built to hold more than 1600 men, has been beset by problems from the start. The first prisoners moved in before the builders had moved out.
This past August, Oakwood's Independent Monitoring Board reported that
• A "very high level of staff" had little or no prison experience, and high rates of sickness left too few staff for front-line duties.• Cell furniture was made of cheap fibre-board that was easy to break up into
• The stairwells, out of sight of CCTV cameras, were perfect for assaults.
• Hooch, drugs and mobile phones were plentiful; it was easy to throw contraband into the grounds, there being only one perimeter fence instead of the usual two.
• Self-harm was a worry — several prisoners had gone over the landing railings; there were no nets.
G4S says Oakwood's 'vision' is to be ‘The Leading Prison in the World’ within five years. Mangaung Prison, which opened in 2001, South Africa's first public-private partnership, is "world class", G4S executives told investment analysts in London last year. Three years ago the South African Crime Quarterly invited G4S South Africa managing director Frikkie Venter to argue the case for private sector prisons. Remarkably, he said: "I think the first thing is that the concept is not strange in South Africa. In the 1800s the private sector was involved in mine prisons." Then he ran through the usual arguments: "The state needed wanted an arrangement where they could pay off a prison, like you pay off a mortgage," he said. The private sector: "has the ability to be more innovative, not be bogged down by red tape, and the private sector can change its systems overnight to ensure service delivery. Government doesn't have that flexibility within its systems." Venter asserted that a system of financial penalties ensured that taxpayers' interests were protected: "Included in the contracts were penalties if the service provider did not deliver as required. So at these PPP prisons service delivery is guaranteed through a punitive structure." How does that work in real life? The Department of Correctional Services has issued 29 penalty notices totalling £90,000 against G4S for incidents of violence at Mangaung since 14 September. Last week Andy Baker insisted that each breach was an "unavoidable accident" and G4S would be contesting the penalties. In a statement issued yesterday, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said: "It ought to be a national scandal that private companies are being handed huge amounts of taxpayers' money to profit from this rehabilitation process. It is even worse when these companies sack workers for raising issues regarding the conditions that they work under." Touching upon the company's work with the Israeli government, COSATU claimed: "G4S's modus operandi is indicative of two of the most worrying aspects of neoliberal capitalism and Israeli apartheid; the ideology of 'security' and the increasing privatisation of what have been traditionally state run sectors." COSATU went on: "Security, in this context, does not imply security for everyone, but rather, when one looks at the major clients of G4S Security (banks, governments, corporations etc) it becomes evident that when G4S says it is 'Securing your World', as the company slogan goes, it is referring to a world of exploitation, repression, occupation and racism."

October 14, 2010 Times Live
The Correctional Services Department is reviewing its partnership with the companies running two of the country's private prisons at a cost of R700-million a year. This was revealed yesterday in Parliament by the department's director-general, Tom Moyane. MPs yesterday lashed out at the department for paying two companies a combined R700-million a year to run jails for it - though it had spent the same amount to build a new prison in Kimberley, in Northern Cape. The contracts between the department and the owners of the private prisons are in force for the next 25 years. "Twenty-five years of paying R700-million [a year]? I'm sure I can buy facilities with that amount of money if I save the money," said Vincent Smith, chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on prisons, and an ANC MP . In response, Moyane admitted that the public-private partnerships were not meeting the department's expectations. "The current public-private partnerships, one in Mangaung and one in Limpopo, do not address, fundamentally, the needs of the organisation," he said. He told the committee that Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has started a policy review of the partnerships with the aim of giving the department full control of the private jails. The department is not involved in their management.

January 20, 2010 Sowetan
AUTHORITIES at the Mangaung Private Prison outside Bloemfontein have sent samples of food for forensic testing after five prisoners landed in hospital with food poisoning. The prisoners who were admitted to the local hospital have since being discharged. The incident happened last week when four prisoners reported ill after lunch, according to Mangaung Correctional Centre deputy controller MC Motsapi. Motsapi said 281 inmates were treated for runny stomachs. “Five out of 281 prisoners were admitted to hospital but their condition was stable. No new cases have so far been reported,” Motsapi said. The prison is one of three private prisons in the country. The contract to run Mangaung Private Prison was granted to GS4 Care and Justice Service. GS4 spokesperson Leana Goosen confirmed the incident but said things had returned to normal. She said the food consignment of the day was being tested.

September 25, 2009 IOL
Nine prisoners at the Mangaung maximum security prison in Bloemfontein damaged furniture and a building on Friday for unknown reasons, police said. Inspector Harry Nagel said the group of men locked themselves in a "school building" on the grounds and started to break and damage chairs, tables, computers and the building's bulletproof windows. "The building also sustained water and smoke damage." Nagel said the prisoners were armed with picks, spades, garden forks and screwdrivers. Police were called in and they negotiated with the men to come out. "As the men started to surrender they were handed to the private prison authorities," said Nagel. Police said one of the prisoners was apparently slightly injured. Nagel said the reason for the incident was not immediately known. It started around 1pm and lasted for three hours.

August 18, 2003
South Africa's private prisons and maximum security prisons have turned out to be an enormous waste of money, energy and time.  These are some of the findings made by University of the Western Cape Professor Julia Sloth-Nielsen, whose overview of policy developments in the Department of Correctional Services was published recently as part of the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative's series of research papers.  Sloth-Nielsen has called for an investigation similar to that into the arms deal regarding the tender process for existing private prisons.  "The reason for prison privatisation was mainly cost based," she said.  Privatisation, however, was costing the Department of Correctional Services much more than it had bargained for.  In 2001/2002 it was projected that by 2004/2005 the existing projects (those deemed viable by a prisons task team) would cost the department R538-million - up from projections of R143-million in 2001/2002.  "The department agreed that the decision had been unwise, and that Treasury had at the time advised against the transaction.  "The decision to undertake the private prisons projects was, however, a political one, according to the departmental spokesperson."  The official position currently appeared to be that no more private prisons would be contemplated because of the inordinate and unforeseen expense.  Sloth-Nielsen said the concept of C-Max prisons was introduced at a time when the Department of Correctional Services was characterised by the influence of American ideas in the penal sphere.  The intention was originally to create more of these facilities, she said, but this was put on the backburner during 2001 because it had turned out to be "a cost-intensive exercise".  According to Sloth-Nielsen, the new prison for "bad eggs", Supermax near Kokstad, was an even more lasting testimony to the influence of American penal philosophy and practice.  "No impact analysis or land survey was done, which explains why the facility has been built without a kitchen - the site is too steep to transport food in the normal manner.  "It cost R360-million to build - 155% more than budgeted for."  Supermax - reserved for high-risk prisoners - was a "veritable Robben Island on land" in terms of its inaccessibility for family visits.  In addition, the department had not been able to find enough "bad eggs" to fill the prison.  Now the department envisaged a series of "new generation prisons" for medium and low-risk prisoners.  Four would be built within the next two years. Construction would rely on local resources; empowerment and security would be people centred and not technology based, Sloth-Nielsen added.  They would be strategically placed in areas most affected by overcrowding.  The focus would be on rehabilitation.  (The Star)

August 4, 2003
A PROFESSOR of law has called for an arms deal-like investigation into the awarding of contracts for private prisons.  Professor Julia Sloth-Nielsen of the University of the Western Cape said that the Department of Correctional Services had admitted "impropriety" in the privatisation process yet nothing had been done about it.  She made these claims in a research document presented at a seminar in Cape Town on Thursday.  "If this matter is not being taken up by any other investigative authority . . . this should be a priority of the [Parliamentary Portfolio] Committee in the same way as the arms investigation has been dealt with," she said.  In the document Sloth-Nielsen says:  Initially seven contracts for private prisons were announced, but only two have been constructed, Mangaung Maximum Security Prison in Bloemfontein, contracted to a UK-based consortium, and the maximum security prison in Louis Trichardt in Limpopo; The process of awarding these contracts was hasty, with the first five tenders awarded months before the legislation was tabled in Parliament; and The Department of Correctional Services itself had noted, "with some acrimony", that the people involved in the project design, contract-drafting and negotiations, had upped and left soon afterwards - to take up senior positions in the companies that had won the tenders. "Again, this gave rise to considerable suspicion about the integrity of the process itself," said Sloth-Nielsen.  A task team, consisting of representatives of Correctional Services and the Treasury, presented a report to Parliament in November last year about the financial arrangements of private prisons.  "For a start, the official view appears to be that the contracts were awarded without proper homework having been done," she said.  The actual cost per prisoner a day at the Bloemfontein private prison is R132.20, compared with R93.67 a day for prisoners in state prisons.  "A debate about the morality of housing 6 000 prisoners in the undeniable [comparative] luxury of uncrowded new facilities, while 182 000 remaining prisoners are left to languish in cells where sleeping by rote is the order of the day, is also required," said Sloth-Nielsen.  "If indeed state officials (or former state officials) benefited materially from the privatisation processes, this must be exposed."  Department of Correctional Services spokesman Russel Mamabolo said on Friday they needed more time to study the 58-page document before they would comment.  (Johannesburg)

March 4, 2003
The chairman of the South African Human Rights Commission visited the privately-run Mangaung Maximum Security Prison outside Bloemfontein on Tuesday to investigate alleged violations of prisoners' rights. SAHRC spokeswoman Phumla Mthala said Jody Kollapen would interview individual prisoners and meet with prison authorities on Tuesday morning. Mthala said the investigation followed several complaints by prisoners to the SAHRC's Free State office about, among other things, detention conditions at the prison. The first complaints were received last year. The aim of the investigation was to look at detention conditions and verify the authenticity of the alleged human rights violations, Mthala said. Earlier on Tuesday Dr Motsoko Pheko, deputy president of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and Member of Parliament, told Sapa that he planned to ask Correctional Services Minister Ben Skosana in Parliament about alleged gang violence in Mangaung Prison. Pheko said he had received complaints from inmates who feared for their lives due to gang violence in the prison. "When people are punished and sent to prison by court, they should be allowed to serve their sentences without putting their lives at risk," Pheko said. According to Pheko, the murder of a Mangaung Prison inmate last week by a fellow inmate was gang-related. Mangaung Prison is one of two private prisons in South Africa run by the British based company Group 4. It has approximately 2928 inmates.  (South African Press Association)

February 27, 2003
An inmate of the privately-run Mangaung Maximum Security Prison outside Bloemfontein died after an alleged assault by a fellow prisoner, the prison confirmed on Thursday. The prison's managing director, Frikkie Venter, said the deceased was allegedly assaulted in the prison late on Wednesday afternoon.  No weapon was used in the attack. The injured prisoner was taken to the prison hospital where he died while in a doctor's care. Venter said a team was already investigating the incident. He was waiting for a report with full details.  Captain Ernest Mayiki spokesman for the Free State police confirmed that police were investigating a case of murder. Venter expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased. Mangaung Maximum Security, belonging to the company Group Four, is one of two privately-managed correctional institutions in South Africa. It is situated adjacent to the Department of Correctional Services' Grootvlei Prison near Bloemfontein. Two convicts escaped from the prison on New Year's Day.  (South African Press Association)

January 1, 2003
Two reportedly dangerous convicts are at large after the first escape from a privately-managed prison in South Africa on Wednesday.  The prisoners made their daring escape around 1 pm while working out in the gym of the Maung Maximum Correctional Facility near Bloemfontein, Department of Correctional Services spokesman Russel Mamabolo told Sapa.  Both men were regarded as dangerous.  Mamabolo said his department would conduct a thorough investigation into the escape and expected a full report from the management company that runs Maung Maximum, Group 4.  Maung Maximum is one of only two privately-managed correctional institutions in South Africa.  The other is near Louis Trichardt in limpopo.  (South African Press Association)

May 2001
A youngster caught stealing three mangoes out of hunger, recently spent four months awaiting trial in a Johannesburg prison due to bungling by justice officials, the country's top independent prisons' inspector revealed on Friday.  "This boy was prepared to plead guilty.  It is obvious the magistrate and prosecutor were not doing their job properly," Judge Johannes Fagan told guests visiting the new Mangaung Maximum Security Prison outside Bloemfontein.  He blamed prison overcrowding on inept justice officials who fail to process cases speedily.  According to statistics from the Department of Correctional Services, the country's 236 prisons, with an accommodation capacity of 102, 048 was housing about 170,168 inmates by the end of February.  Nearly a third of these, or about 64,000 individuals, were awaiting trial, Fagan said.  (News 24, South Africa)