Minister Ronald Lamola has told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services that the department has served the international security company G4S with a notice to terminate its contract.
The company was in contract with the department to run the Mangaung Correctional Facility where rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escaped last year.
“The notice to terminate follows a legal opinion that DCS had sought. It has been deemed that BCC is not suitable to continue with the contract. In line with the concession contract agreement, a termination notice for a period of 90 days has been served to BCC, and thereafter, the contract will cease to operate.
“DCS has already resumed with an internal exercise for the takeover process,” Lamola said.
He told the committee that in the 2021/22 financial year, there were some 22 escapes from correctional facilities across the country.
“We are the first to acknowledge that one escape at our facilities is one too many. We will redouble our security operations to prevent escapes and deal harshly with officials who fail to adhere to Standard Operating Procedures,” Lamola said.
The Minister added that eight officials who were on duty on the date of Bester’s escape did not adhere to standard operating procedures. Hence, they have been suspended.
Meanwhile, police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe says at least two more G4S employees have been arrested in connection with the prison escape.
“The pair will appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday… on a charge of assisting an inmate to escape from lawful custody and defeating the ends of justice.
“The team investigating this case have so far arrested eight suspects and cannot rule out the possibility of effecting more arrests,” Mathe said.