It’s alleged that inmates are tortured and incarcerated in inhumane conditions at the prison, which is run by G4S.
British-owned security company G4S’s conduct in running the Free State’s Mangaung Correctional Centre and in opposing a Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) application to access information on its operations at the prison was a matter of considerable public interest, the High Court in Pretoria heard yesterday.
It’s alleged that inmates are allegedly tortured and incarcerated in inhumane conditions at the prison.
Cals, a law clinic and a civil society organisation based at Wits University, has over five years been investigating brutality claims made by prisoners at Mangaung in a bid to force the department of correctional services (DCS) to grant it access to the report on the torture of inmates, under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
Presenting a legal argument before Judge Carl Pierre Rabie – as part of an application in terms of the PAIA on the alleged torture of prisoners by G4S security personnel – Cals counsel Gina Snyman said public interest was “enhanced by the very serious allegations of its (G4S’s) breach of its contract and the Correctional Services Act, which led to the DCS investigation and taking over the running of the prison”.
But 10 months later, the DCS handed back control of the prison, which Cals described as “one of the largest privately-run prisons in the world”, to G4S.
South Africa, Snyman added, ratified in 1998 the United Nations Convention Against Torture (Cat) and in 2006 signed the Optional Protocol to Cat (Opcat).
At the core of the legal argument is G4S’s assertion that sensitive information on prisoners, company staff, names, and the prison’s layout should be redacted from the original report when handed to Cals.
Judge Rabie asked: “Why has the redacted version not been sent to them?”
G4S senior counsel Allen Liversage responded: “We invited them (Cals) and they were not interested. Hence we are here to seek guidance.”
Judge Rabie reserved judgment.
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Source: The Citizen