Inmate dies at Mangaung Correctional Centre

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The inmate died on 29 April 2023. PHOTO: iStock

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has confirmed that a prisoner died at the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC), the same facility where the notorious Facebook rapist Thabo Bester escaped.

The MCC, which security company G4S ran, has come under scrutiny since Bester’s escape.

The convicted rapist and murderer escaped from the facility in Bloemfontein in May 2022, after it was initially believed he had died by suicide after setting himself alight in his cell.

Following his escape, officials found the body of 31-year-old Katlego Baereng in Bester’s prison cell at the MCC where he was serving a life sentence.

Inmate dies at MCC
DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed that an inmate had died, but the death is not related to Bester’s escape.

“The Department of Correctional Services can confirm the passing of inmate Bukani Velaphi on 29 April 2023. The inmate reported being sick at about 18H22 and was taken to the hospital. The doctor examined him and sadly, the inmate passed away at about 20h15.

“Unfortunately, everything happening at Mangaung Correctional Centre is now linked to Thabo Bester,” Nxumalo told The Citizen.

G4S contract cancelled
Last week, G4S said it intends to discontinue all investment in correctional services in South Africa.

The decision came after the DCS ended its contract with Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts (BCC), which runs the MCC.

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

Disinvestment
G4S South Africa said it notes the decision to terminate its contract with the Mangaung Correctional Centre which it has held since 2000.

“G4S South Africa holds a non-controlling minority investment in BCC and on 22 November 2019 announced that upon expiry of BCC’s contract to manage MCC, G4S would no longer be investing in correctional services in South Africa.

“G4S is committed to investment in South Africa but it remains G4S’s firm intention to discontinue all investment in correctional services in South Africa,” it said.

Faizel Patel/The Citizen