Hundreds of red berets gathered at the Mangaung Correctional Centre to hand over a memorandum of demands.
Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters gather outside the Mangaung Correctional Centre, from where murderer and rapist Thabo Bester escaped in May 2022, to hand over a memorandum of demands. Picture: Kgomotso Modise/ Eyewitness News
MANGAUNG – About 300 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members were on Friday singing and demonstrating outside the Mangaung Correctional Centre, calling for the immediate termination of the facility’s contract with G4S.
This is the same correctional centre from which fugitive murderer and rapist, Thabo Bester, escaped. The red berets were there to hand over a memorandum following the brazen escape.
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Correctional Services has since taken over the temporary management of the facility from security company, G4S, which privately operated the Mangaung Correctional Centre, saying it was seeking legal advice on the remainder of the contract which will end in 2026.
On Thursday, the Department of Correctional Services described the escape as an “embarrassing” situation.
The department also noted that ousted Mangaung Correctional Centre director, Johan Theron, had lost effective control of the prison.
Members of the EFF are outside the Mangaung Prison where #ThaboBester escaped. They are here to hand over a memorandum. @motso_modise pic.twitter.com/A5SNhjgatR
‘ EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) March 31, 2023
EFF provincial chairperson in the Free State Mapheule Liphoko said: “This is a service that needs to be dispatched by the government itself but it’s unable to do so because they really want to line the pockets of politicians and these multinational companies. So, what they need to do is to just cut the contract.”
The EFF also believes Bester’s escape serves as grounds for Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to resign.
READ: Thabo Bester saga: prisoners’ rights group wants Lamola to step down
More buses continued to arrive at this prison where the red berets were camping on Friday.
While G4S security was on high alert at the entrance of the prison, members of the South African Police Service kept a watchful eye on the facility.