Kutama-Sinthumule prison in Makhado, South Africa, was destroyed in a fire on 7 August. Two inmates died, 18 were hospitalised, and two prison officials were injured. All inmates have been relocated to other facilities. The prison is managed by the American security company GEO Group, with its partners Kensani Corrections and South African Custodial Services, employing around 560 staff. Daily operations, overseeing 3 024 beds, are subcontracted to South African Custodial Management.
This investigation examines the underlying causes, and whether the issues are rooted in South Africa’s troubled prison system or the for-profit, multinational management of the facility.