Home South African Thabo Bester escape: Correctional Services will not renew prison contract with G4S

Thabo Bester escape: Correctional Services will not renew prison contract with G4S

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The Department of Correctional Services has indicated it will not be renewing its contract with G4S to run Mangaung Prison, following the movie-style escape by “Facebook Rapist” Thabo Bester.

Thabo Bester surrounded by correctional officers. File picture: Brenton Geach

THE DEPARTMENT of Correctional Services (DCS) has indicated it will not be renewing its contract with G4S to run Mangaung Prison, following the movie-style escape by “Facebook Rapist” Thabo Bester.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, said this in his reply in Parliament to EFF member Yoliswa Yako.

Yako’s questions came after the nation learned that Bester, who was said to have died in a mysterious fire in the prison, had escaped.

G4S was a member of a consortium that agreed to manage Mangaung Prison for 25 years under a contract with the DCS.

The contract between the government and the multinational private security company was expected to run until June 30, 2026.

In his reply, Lamola also said the department would not be renewing its contract with the South African Custodial Services, which managed the Kutama Sinthumile Correctional Centre in Makhado, Limpopo.

That contract will end on February 15, 2027.

“The department has commenced with the process of taking them over once the contracts come to an end,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has criticised government for outsourcing its responsibilities to private entities.

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said the union was of the “firm view” this escape, and multiple other misconducts and abuses reported over the years, were mainly a consequence of the DCS having outsourced the functions of the state’s security to “foreign-owned companies”, whose sole preoccupation was profit maximisation as opposed to the core mandate of rehabilitating inmates.

The police meanwhile said a case of murder had been opened after it emerged that Bester may have killed someone during his bold escape.

The fugitive, who was serving a life sentence for murder and rape, has since been the focus of a police manhunt.

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