Not just BOSASA: Private prisons has opened up the system for corruption

Not just BOSASA: Private prisons has opened up the system for corruption

- Angelo Agrizzi testified at the Zondo Commission how officials from the Department of Correctional Services were on BOSASA's payroll

- Since then, allegations of corruption and mismanagement have been resurfacing at Mangaung Prison

- Briefly.co.za explores how the privatisation of the prison system may well be it's downfall

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While the Zondo Commission detailed how BOSASA paid their way into the Department of Correctional Services favor, it seems they are not the only ones that have illicitly benefited from the privatisation of the prison system.

United Kingdom based company G4S, currently one of the largest firms globally, and the American GEO group both run prisons in South Africa. In total they imprison 6 000 offenders.

Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts ( BCC), a shareholder of the G4S prison, entered into a 25 year agreement to build, run and maintain Mangaung prison in 2000. G4S won the subcontract to run the facility.

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Mangaung prison

When the prison opened in 2001, it was heralded as a state-of-the-art facility, offering educational programmes for prisoners and armed with the latest technology.

However, in the years to come the facility, governed by G4S, would be tainted with irregularities and allegations of not only abuse but torture.

According to New24, inmates retold stories of torture, electroshock and forced medication to subdue inmates.

In 2013 the prison was taken over by the Department of Correctional Services for nearly a year. G4S had failed to keep the facility in order and the result had been rioting inmates and staff strikes.

Sbu Ndebele, who at the time was correctional services minister, had responded by commenting that the 'privatisation of prisons had failed'.

The minister had set up a task team to investigate the claims and had promised a report would be issued in a months time.

Off the record, department officials had confirmed evidence of the abuse, the medication and suspicious deaths.

The promised report had been complied, but the department had been adamant that they would not release it. The matter has since been taken to court, demanding its release 6 years later.

READ ALSO: South Africa reacts to Hawks arresting Agrizzi, Mti and 4 others

How privatisation impacted the prison system

When prisons were privatised it provided the opportunity for corruption. Testimonies before the state capture inquiry may help explain why the department would refuse to release a report detailing the misconduct of a private company.

Briefly.co.za reported earlier that Angelo Agrizzi, former COO at BOSASA, had implicated five national commissioners in the department- Khulekani Sithole, Linda Mti, Nontsikelelo Jolingana, Tom Moyane and Zach Modise.

According to News24, the same officials were responsible for the legal mishap over Mangaung prison and compliance in the R10.6 billion deal.

Shockingly, the 2013 investigation into the facility is not the only report kept out of the public eye.

READ ALSO: Angelo Agrizzi claims BOSASA bribed NPA insiders to halt prosecutions

Tatolo Setlai

In 2008 Tatolo Setlai, an official stationed at Mangaung, wrote a report condemning the facility and once again mentioned the use of electroshocking and unlawful solitary confinement of prisoners.

This report had been submitted to Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, a minister at the time and Zacharia Modise, then regional commmissioner, who Agrizzi has claimed received R1 million from BOSASA:

“The report was submitted to the contract management section at head office for further investigation. It found the report by Setlai was one-sided and there was no substance to the allegations. No further investigation, and/or action, was deemed necessary,”

Both officials disregarded the report and once again it disappeared into obscurity. Setlai was reported to the police by G4S and reported to the minister. He was later cleared by the subsequent investigation.

G4S continues to run the facility, despite repeatedly being accused of mismanagement. According to News24 the company held a close relationship with Jacob Zuma, as well as contracts with the Gupta family.

The matter is now being heard in court and only time will tell what the outcome will be.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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