Abuse Claims Emerge at Privately Run South African Prison

Private security staff at a South African prison have been accused of subjecting inmates to "shocking" abuse

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Staff at a maximum-security jail in South Africa, run by British security firm G4S, have been accused of subjecting inmates to abuses, reports the BBC.

Mangaung Correctional Centre, near Bloemfontein — one of two privately run jails in South Africa — has been temporarily taken over by the South African government as the government investigates allegations of forced injections, beatings and electric shock treatments.

The accusations follow an investigation by the Wits Justice Project, part of the University of Witwatersrand’s journalism department. Speaking with the BBC, journalist Ruth Hopkins from the Wits Justice Project said “over the last year I have interviewed and received letters from nearly 30 inmates who told us about electroshocking and beatings, as well as 14 members of these security teams, and accounts from regular warders in the prison.”

Nontsikelelo Jolingana, the National Commissioner of Correctional Services, issued a statement earlier this month saying that following a labor dispute between guards and G4S there had been an upsurge in reported violence at the facility. Jolingana added that G4S had “lost effective control of the facility”, and announced that the government would be temporarily taking over the prison.

G4S says it has seen no evidence of abuse, but the group’s president for Africa, Andy Baker, has said he will investigate any specific case bought to his attention.