Mangaung prison under control after strike, riot

The situation at the Mangaung Correctional Centre, near Bloemfontein, is calm and under control.

Some 311 workers at the maximum security facility went on strike from Thursday last week, and management brought in manpower from outside the city, said Andy Baker, head of G4S Africa.

“We have resources in South Africa from which we could draw. We have some 13 500 full time employees in South Africa.”

Yesterday, prison management also had a prisoner riot to handle, which broke out in some sections.

“We have exceptional response teams for such situations which brought the riot under control within 30 minutes,” said Baker.

The prisoners burned blankets, broke toilets, windows and damaged some 40 porcelain basins they wanted to use as projectiles.

Baker said one man was taken to hospital due to the riot.

However, by 7pm yesterday the situation was calm and peaceful, Baker said. He described the actions of the striking workers as frustrating.

G4S said workers had ignored a signed agreement to return to work on Thursday night.

“There is a possibility that workers would lose their work, because they are now busy with an illegal and unprotected strike,” said Baker.

The company said its first responsibility was to get the situation back to normal within the facility.

Baker said G4S has committed themselves to address the issues which led to the strike.

“We hope sanity would prevail and workers do the right thing by coming back to work in the right and legal way,” he said.

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