The Department of Correctional Services has handed back full control of the Mangaung Correctional Centre to Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts (BCC) and G4S Correction Services Bloemfontein with effect from this Friday, 1 August. This was after the department took control of the facility in October 2013 following the dismissal of 326 employees by G4S who had embarked on an unprotected strike.
The handover was confirmed by acting National Commissioner at the Department of Correctional Services, Mr Zach Modise. “As a department, we are satisfied that the issues that led to our takeover of the Mangaung Correctional Centre have been resolved and we will continue to work with G4S to ensure a phased handover and operation of the facility” said Modise.
The department had invoked section 112 of the Correctional Services Act to take operational control of the centre on 9 October 2014.
Commenting on the handover, Andy Baker, Regional President for G4S Africa said “We would like to thank the department for its leadership on this matter throughout this period and we will continue to work with the department and our labour partners, the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) to ensure that operations are stabilised”.
As part of the resolution of the dispute, G4S has agreed to re-employ all 326 dismissed employees with full recognition of years of service and seniority, and subject to relevant disciplinary measures where they are applicable. Baker said the company and union will work with an outside facilitator to continue to improve employee relations.
POPCRU Deputy President, Nathi Mabhida welcomed the move, noting that the standoff had proven disruptive to their members. “We maintain our members’ rights to raise any issue that relates to employment conditions but will strive to ensure that these will be done within the existing structures and governance framework” said Mabhida.