G4S plotting to get rid of long serving warders at Mangaung prison

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In an exclusive interview with SABC News, an inmate at the Mangaung Correctional Center managed by G4S in Bloemfontein made startling allegations against the facility.

Zwelinzima Nquru claims that G4S seeks to dismiss long-term employees before its contract with the Department of Correctional Services concludes.

Nquru alleges the involvement of top officials in a range of illicit activities, including a money-for-jobs syndicate, solicitation of protection fees from inmates, and an elaborate sex ring intended to target employees with long service.

According to Nquru, G4S allegedly uses inmates to lure female warders into relationships for financial gain, creating a trap. The inmate says that those implicated have been suspended, and the plot involves planting contraband on male warders.

“Those women are targets because of the long service that they have. If those people stay here until DCS takes over or until they go on pension, G4S will pay them a lot of money. That’s why some of the things they give to inmates and tell them to go and plant them in the belongings of a certain guard and we will come search that guard. You get a reward for that and sometimes they give you money or send it on your card,” Nquru says.

Payments from an alleged paymaster inmate to top-ranking officials, including the head of security, an internal investigator, an HR official, and a top operations officer, were revealed in a leaked bank statement obtained by SABC News.

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“If you are an inmate who does not pay protection fees you become their victim. They will keep searching you, taking your cellphones and they will always move you from one cell to another. You will never stay in one place for more than seven days. But if you work hand in hand with them even when there is a random search they will warn you beforehand so now inmates have to keep paying that money to them,” says Nquru.

Nquru claims that non-payment of protection fees makes inmates vulnerable to mistreatment, constant searches, and frequent cell changes. He even criticized the investigation into Thabo Bester’s escape, stating that the police relied on an internal investigation report from G4S officials rather than conducting a thorough inquiry.

The Department of Correctional Services has confirmed an ongoing investigation into allegations of payments from inmates to top officials at the G4S correctional facility.

The department’s spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo says, “Correctional service is aware of the allegations and it’s important to highlight that we’ve been doing a number of investigations at Mangaung Correctional Center.”

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“We have managed to unearth quite a lot of things and some of the elements which ought to be eliminated if that facility is to operate efficiently and the investigations that we’ve been running, some have ruffled other people the other way and often to employ other tactics but we know exactly of what’s going on there. So as the department, we are quite comfortable with the work that we’ve been doing and all manner of allegations that we continue to receive, indeed we do attend to them but the progress is quite big,” states Nxumalo.

The facility gained notoriety in May 2022 when convicted Facebook rapist and murderer Thabo Bester made a daring escape. The body of Katlego Bereng is believed to have been smuggled into the facility and used as a decoy as if it is Bester’s charred remains.

Bester, along with his girlfriend Dr. Nandipha Magudumana and former prison employees, is set to appear in court this week, facing charges related to aiding an inmate’s escape from lawful custody, among other charges.

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