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After Thabo Bester's escape, Cosatu urges govt to cut ties with private prisons

G4S was part of a consortium that signed a 25-year deal with the Department of Correctional Services to run the Mangaung prison facility.

Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. Picture: G4S website

JOHANNESBURG – Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on government to cut ties with privatised prisons after serial rapist, Thabo Bester, escaped from the maximum-security prison operated by private company G4S.

Bester, otherwise known as “the Facebook rapist”, was photographed in Sandton two months after he supposedly burnt to death in his prison cell in Mangaung last year.

READ: Correctional Services Department must scrap 25-year deal with G4S – Popcru

The private security company’s role in Bester’s escape has also been questioned by the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has also called on the Correctional Services Department to outline further details about the case.

Cosatu said that public institutions needed to take control of matters that involved highly dangerous criminals.

“Clearly, privatised prisons that are in the business to make money are not concerned about the public interest, they are concerned about making money. Government is to be watched very carefully because they have been the ones who have allowed the privatisation of this prison, and we can’t trust them,” said the federation’s Tony Ehrenreich.

He said that G4S already had a questionable reputation.

READ: DCA should have notified the public of Thabo Bester’s escape – legal analyst

“Its horrendous track record in Israel where they are central to oppression and brutilisation of the Palestinians both at the checkpoints and at the prisons, so a company like that should not even have been able to operate in South Africa, let alone being in charge of using a prison.”



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