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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Thabo Bester: ‘Limited resources’ could plunge Mangaung prison into further chaos’ – Tapsosa

Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, confirmed G4S was served with a 90-day notice for the cancellation of the contract.

The Association of Private Security Owners of South Africa (Tapsosa) has warned the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) that using “limited resources” could create further chaos at the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) where convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escaped from.

Tapsosa urged government to consider other security companies to run MCC.

On Tuesday, the DCS resolved to end its contract with Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts (BCC), which runs the MCC.

G4S contract terminated

Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola, confirmed that BCC has been served with a 90-day-notice to terminate the contract of managing the MCC.

“We have received legal opinion which showed that the systematic challenges that were faced with the Mangaung Correctional Centre over a number of years, including the last one with regards to the escapes, point to the fact that the management contract cannot continue in this kind of format because they are struggling to meet the contractual obligations,” he told the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester escape: Correctional Services to terminate G4S contract – Lamola

Other service providers

Taptosa welcomed the decision to terminate the G4S‘ contract to run the MCC.

While Lamola said his department has already started internal processes to take over the running of the facility, Tapsosa spokesperson Sindiswa Changuion said the department should consider other service providers to take over the administration of the Bloemfontein-based facility.

“It is common knowledge that the department is understaffed, and using the already limited resources to run this prison facility could plunge it into further chaos and instability.

“Getting the department’s internal staff to operate that facility efficiently could take years of training and capacity development. That’s why we call for the government to use private security services as an interim solution,” he said.

G4S contract

British multinational private security company, G4S, is one of BCC’s shareholders.

The contract between government G4S/BCC was valued around R45 million every month to manage the MCC.

The 25-year tender was expected to end in 2026.

Bester escape

Bester escaped from the G4S-run Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) in Bloemfontein in May 2022, after it was initially believed he had died by suicide after setting himself alight in his cell.

The Facebook rapist and his lover Dr Nandipha Magadumana were arrested last month, about 10km out of Arusha in Tanzania, after fleeing the hotel they were staying in.

Additional reporting by Molefe Seeletsa

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester: Nandipha Magudumana and co-accused to apply for bail.

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