We note with concern recent media coverage regarding our contract to operate the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC) in South Africa and would like to set the record straight.
G4S has operated the MCC since 2000. In that time, the MCC has come to be regarded as a benchmark in correctional services in South Africa and we have maintained a strong, open relationship with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). On the 18th of September 2013 we were placed in a difficult position after 331 G4S employees working at Mangaung were dismissed following an illegal strike.
In order to manage this staffing matter and maintain order at the MCC, we put in place a number of short term plans which included requesting support from the Department of Correctional Services and we welcomed the decision by the Acting National Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, Ms NJ Jolingana, to appoint a temporary manager to the MCC.
In the interim we have hired 334 new recruits who are being trained and inducted in accordance with our contract with DCS and we believe that full management control of the MCC will return to G4S in due course.
Yesterday a local South African television programme alleged that G4S staff had been responsible for forcibly administering medication and electric shock treatment to Mangaung inmates. We strongly deny these allegations. G4S has a zero-tolerance policy for the use of undue or excessive force, and does not use or condone torture in any form. G4S staff members do not have access to, nor do they administer, any medication to inmates at the MCC.
All medical decisions, including diagnoses and prescriptions for inmates, are taken and addressed by independent certified medical staff. These medical practitioners are not G4S employees. The role of G4S staff is to prevent prisoners who are being treated from causing harm to other prisoners and staff. This is in accordance with the relevant legal guidelines.
The television programme also inferred that G4S staff had been responsible for administering electric shock treatment to MCC inmates. We cannot verify the video where these allegations of torture are made, however, we can confirm that we do not use any form of torture or shock treatment. There is an active and independent inspection regime in place at the Mangaung prison, and there have never been any allegations or concerns regarding anything of this nature.
In the 12 years that G4S has operated the MCC, we have always taken comprehensive steps to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the inmates and have always acted in accordance with our contract with the Department of Correctional Services.
About Mangaung Correctional Centre:
The Mangaung Correctional Centre houses 3,000 inmates and is the second largest private prison in the world. As the first Private Finance Initiative (PFI)/Public Private Partnership (PPP) to be developed in South Africa, it has become a benchmark in correctional services in the country and has successfully balanced the provision of a range of opportunities for inmates with the need to maintain stringent security and control.
Inmates are offered a variety of skills development and vocational programmes to help them find employment after release, and also have access to quality health care services and psychological programmes. The MCC also plays a vital role in the local community and has been presented with an award for local community development by the Premier of the province for the last two years.