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Prison torture report must be released – ruling

Publish date: 10 February 2020
Issue Number: 859
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

British security company G4S must release a report on alleged torture of inmates by prison personnel at Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. A GroundUp report notes the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) has successfully applied to be given access to an investigative report conducted by the Department of Correctional Services in 2014. Judge Pierre Rabie gave an order in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) on Friday that compels G4S and the Minister of Justice & Correctional Services to give CALS the report within 15 days. The centre had first requested the results of the investigation under a Promotion of Access to Information application, which was refused by the department and then dismissed by the Ministry on appeal. Rabie declared this refusal ‘unlawful and invalid’. The incidents allegedly occurred in 2013, while the prison was under the control of the Bloemfontein Corrections Centre, with daily operations being subcontracted to G4S. The judgment states that the allegations in regard to the report could be a violation of the contract between the department and the private companies as well as contravening the Constitution and international law ‘on conditions of detention and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture’. During the lengthy court case, G4S moved to supply only a redacted version of the report, particularly one obscuring ‘identifying markers’ of prison employees and inmates, as well as details about the prison structure. The order overrides this, compelling the company to supply the full report. According to GroundUp, the department, the Minister and G4S were ordered to pay costs.

Full GroundUp report