The affordable education loan option
Bloemfontein - G4S never lost control of the situation at the Mangaung maximum security prison outside Bloemfontein, the security company said on Wednesday.
“G4S welcomes the appointment of an interim manager following a request by G4S to DCS - department of correctional service - for support,” G4S said in a statement on Wednesday.
It follows an announcement by DCS acting national commissioner Nontsikelelo Jolingana that the department has taken control of the prison.
She and a senior management team from the department visited the prison on Wednesday morning and informed the management, staff, and inmates about the change.
A special management team, under the leadership of Gauteng correctional services deputy commissioner Zacharia Modise, would run the facility in the meantime.
G4S confirmed that Jolingana had exercised her right to invoke section 112 of the Correctional Services Act and appoint a temporary manager until further notice.
The company said the national commissioner cited a number of reasons for the step, but reiterated it had, at all times, maintained effective control of the correctional centre.
It, however, confirmed an irregular number of assaults on employees by inmates over the past two weeks following illegal industrial action, which led to the dismissal of 331 employees.
Jolingana said the department decided to intervene after G4S allegedly admitted it was using uncertified staff to do the job of the fired workers.
Under the act, uncertified workers were not allowed to handle equipment such as firearms and prison keys.
G4S said the company would maintain their contractual and legal obligations to DCS and gave its full co-operation to the interim DCS management team.
The company welcomed the national commissioner's comment that the department would not intervene in the ongoing labour dispute between G4S and Popcru.
Modise's team of 10 senior managers must have a contingency plan for the centre ready by Friday.
The correctional service department was considering helping the current G4S staff at Mangaung with state officials to normalise the situation.
More details would follow after Friday's report.
G4S was awarded a 25-year contract to run the Mangaung Correctional Centre on behalf of the department of correctional services in 2000.