IF you didn't know who he was when GroundUp News first reported on March 15 this year that Thabo Bester, the so-called Facebook rapist and murderer, may not have died in a fire at the Mangaung Correctional Centre but in fact escaped, you would be excused. But by the time Bester and his mistress, Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, were arrested in Tanzania on 8 April, his name was on everyone's lips.
“Sensational, spectacular, insane," is how British investigative journalist Ruth Hopkins describes the escape. Sensational but no surprise, as it was Hopkins who exposed headline-grabbing irregularities at the country's first private prison in 2013 and later wrote a book about it.
The Mangaung Prison was opened with great fanfare in 2001 as South Africa's first private prison, and G4S – a company that also manages prisons in several other countries – signed a 25-year contract with the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) for its management. After all, they undertook to provide the best amenities at the lowest cost...
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