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Johannesburg - The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has welcomed the decision by the Correctional Services Department to take over management of the privately run Mangaung prison outside Bloemfontein.
“Popcru is pleased that after the several calls we made to the department of correctional services to take over the facility this has finally been realised,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement follows the union's national executive committee meeting held at the weekend.
It said the incidents at the prison were an indication that privatisation would “never work”.
“There is more concentration on profit margins than provision of services while enjoying wastage of public funds which could be invested in other critical programmes,” Popcru said.
“We further call on the department of correctional services to take full and permanent control of the other private prison in Limpopo as well before we witness similar petrifying scenes from there.”
The union also called for the reinstatement of more than 300 members who were fired from the prison for “raising the alarm about the incompetence of G4S”.
The department took over the management of the prison from G4S last Wednesday.
One of the main reasons for the intervention was a concern for the safety of inmates and staff.
In September G4S dismissed 330 Popcru members after they refused to return to work at the prison following a strike.
During the strike, the facility, which houses nearly 2000 inmates, was run with limited staff. A riot also broke out at the prison.
In October a female warder was taken hostage by inmates for 13 hours. A police special task force rescued her physically unharmed.