Normality returns to Mangaung Prison

Popcru is confident members will be reinstated after it meets with G4S at the CCMA next week.

The Department of Correctional Services has taken over from private security company G4S at the Mangaung Correctional Centre.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Correctional Services says a sense of normality is starting to return to the Mangaung Correctional Centre in the Free State where it has taken over from private security company Group 4 Securicor (G4S).

The department took complete control of the prison following a spate of stabbings and a hostage situation last month.

Regional Commissioner Zacharia Modise is the new temporary manager at the prison and says the department and G4S differ on how the maximum security facility should be guarded.

"We believe in offenders being escorted from one place to another for direct supervision and we need adequate officials."

He says the biggest concern was the ratio of prisoners to guards.

"We had a situation where one official was in charge of almost 64 offenders which is not acceptable because it's a maximum security facility."

Meanwhile, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) says it's confident its members will be reinstated at the prison after it meets with G4S at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration next week.

More than 300 Popcru members were sacked for staging an unprotected strike there last month.

The union says the intervention has returned stability to the site and the same must be done at South Africa's only other private prison in Limpopo.

Popcru's Theto Mohlakaona said, "If they had listened to us earlier we would have avoided most of the casualties. We hope the Department of Correctional Services will extend this to the institution in Limpopo."