Prison company stalls court actions


British multinational security company G4S wants the high court in Pretoria to suppress evidence that could reveal widespread torture and abuse of prisoners at its Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein. G4S has demanded that the medical files of inmates are not to be made public. The inmates allege that the multinational tortured and injected them against their will with antipsychotic drugs. The medical files could contain evidence of these transgressions. G4S still holds the contract to run Mangaung prison, despite being … Read more

G4S snared by torture allegations at Bloemfontein jail


Inmates say they were given electric shocks and forcibly injected at the multinational security company’s Mangaung Correctional Centre, writes Ruth Hopkins The multinational security company G4S, a main contender for the South African Social Security Agency tender to distribute social grants, is in court over torture allegations. The company is defending claims by 42 inmates that they were subjected to electric shocks, forcibly injected with antipsychotic drugs and placed in lengthy isolation in G4S’s Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. The … Read more

Tortured behind bars

In March, Kgolofelu Khoza was allegedly chained in a crouching position to a door in an isolation unit – also known as the “bomb cells” – at Johannesburg Correctional Centre. He claims he was kept there for two days and a night. “They first bound my feet with leg irons and then they slipped my hands between my legs and cuffed them, and then fixed the other end of the cuffs to the grill door,” Khoza told human rights lawyer … Read more

“Those Prisoners Had to Feel Who Was Boss. And We Made Them Feel.”


I broke the story on a private prison in South Africa where guards inflicted horrendous abuse. But to really understand what happened, I needed to talk to the torturers themselves. “Inmates were lying everywhere,” says Sipho Kumalo, a former member of the Emergency Security Team (EST) at Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein, South Africa. “Ninjas were all over the place, shocking, kicking, .” On the inside, members of the EST – a squadron of guards in riot gear – are referred to … Read more

Special report: Non-lethal weapons or torture tools?

Police had running battles with residents of Nkaneng shantytown. Burning and rock barricades were then set up in the township and police shot at, teargassed and also arrested some 14 residents. Many of the injured were women, one of which died. Nkaneng, Marikana, North West. South Africa, 15 September 2012.

Every day, South African police officers and prison wardens go to work, armed with legal tools that can be used to torture. Electric shock devices, tonfas, pepper spray and rubber bullets are classified as non-lethal weapons and therefore are assumed to be a safer alternative to guns. But the Omega Research Foundation (Omega) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) warned during a conference last week that they can be potentially lethal tools of torture. Omega and the ISS warn … Read more

Mangaung prison inmate ‘tortured to death’

Mangaung prison inmate 'tortured to death'

On a cold winter day in 2005, inmate Isaac Nelani asked wardens at Mangaung prison, run by British security firm G4S, for an extra blanket to keep him warm. The prison walls emitted a chill that crept into his joints and bones. Nelani, a 47-year old inmate at Mangaung prison, was HIV-positive, which made him more susceptible to the cold. On a cold winter day in 2005, inmate Isaac Nelani asked wardens at Mangaung prison, run by British security firm … Read more

G4S abuses in South African prison still ignored

Mangaung prison

On 17 December 2013, former inmate Tebogo Meje was called to the office of the unit manager in Mangaung prison, a South African jail run by British security behemoth G4S. There, members of the Emergency Security Team (EST)–a team of warders also known as the ‘ninjas’, armed with electrically charged shields and other non-lethal weapons–interrogated Meje. On 17 December 2013, former inmate Tebogo Meje was called to the office of the unit manager in Mangaung prison, a South African jail … Read more

British law firm acts for Bloem prisoners

British law firm acts for Bloem prisoners

Forty-three inmates who allege they were tortured by warders in a Bloemfontein prison are preparing to bring their claim before the British High Court. British law firm Leigh Day is representing the prisoners and served an urgent “letter of claim” to security giant G4S’s headquarters in Crawley in the UK on Thursday. G4S won a R15 billion, 25-year contract in 2000 to build, run and manage the Mangaung Correctional Centre (MCC). “The instructions we have received from our clients attest … Read more

South African prisoners sue G4S over torture claims

Inside a South African prison.

British law firm acts for inmates alleging they were given electric shocks, forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs and held in isolation cells for up to three years A group of South African prisoners are suing G4S over abuse they allege they suffered in a Bloemfontein prison run by the British security company. British law firm Leigh Day, which is representing the 43 prisoners, sent an urgent letter to the company’s UK headquarters in Crawley on Thursday. The inmates claim they were … Read more

Still no progress on Mangaung prison abuse claims

Tebogo Meje

Ruth Hopkins’ recent piece on the Mail & Guardian looks at what has happened (or rather not happened) since the publication of a 12-month investigation into allegations of solitary confinement, electroshocking, and forced injections with anti-psychotic drugs from inmates held at the G4S-run prison, Mangaung, in Bloemfontein. The wheels of justice are turning slowly in the case of a Free State jail accused of torturing its inmates. A year ago, the Mail & Guardian published the results of a 12-month investigation by … Read more