The security systems at the Mangaung Correctional Institution, according to the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), were breached to aid convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester’s escape.
Bester, also known as the Facebook Rapist, is believed to have successfully escaped from the Mangaung Prison in May of last year despite claims from authorities that he had perished in a cell fire. Investigations, however, showed that the person discovered in the cell died from blunt head injuries prior to the fire.
Speaking during a media briefing, DCS National Commissioner Makgothi Thobakgale said: “We are working around the clock to make sure that everything runs smoothly, and we keep pleading with anyone who knows where Thabo Bester is to come forward.”
A temporary manager has been appointed at the Mangaung facility and will assume the functions of the director, in line with provisions in the Correctional Services Act.
“After 2026, the G4S contract will not be extended; in the interim, we are seeking legal counsel on how to handle them. Although this is not the first security breach we have dealt with in the past, it is unique in that so many people were involved.”
The departmental investigative unit has started looking into the conduct of the three suspended officials.
“Failures from the contractor do not exonerate officials from the department of correctional services, we will continue to work, you can track the speed at which we are working and we will ensure that this never happens again,” said Thobakgale.