Bosasa prison food contracts to formally end in 30 days

Justice minister Michael Masutha. File photo.
Justice minister Michael Masutha. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

The department of correctional services has issued African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa) with a 30-day notice that it will serve divorce papers for catering contracts at prisons.

This was announced on Monday by justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha, who said this came after the company notified the department of its intention to apply for voluntary liquidation following the closing of its bank accounts by FNB and Absa banks.

The population of offenders being fed via Bosasa stands at 46,434 inmates, announced Masutha.

He said the department was considering civil and criminal action to recover monies paid unduly to Bosasa and individuals including the department's officials.

The minister however acknowledged that the department had failed to institute civil action proceedings against Bosasa and department officials in 2009, as recommended at the time by a damning Special Investigative Unit report that had fingered corrections commissioner Linda Mti and CFO Patrick Gillingham in graft with Bosasa.

"To date, without prejudice, officials who are still in the employ of DCS, who were implicated in acts of impropriety in the testimonies given before the Zondo commission, have been served with notices in accordance with rules of natural justice to show cause," said Masutha.

"Further, we wish to place it on the record that the SIU is currently investigating contracts related to electronic monitoring, fencing projects and procurement of various services in DCS KwaZulu-Natal. We look forward to a speedy conclusion of these investigations in line with our earlier stated commitment to deal with corruption where ever it rears its ugly face."

Masutha, who also doubles up as minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, also revealed a probe into allegations that the department's security management section had failed to prepare a business case and the requisite tender documents in time for procurement of services from Bosasa-related company Sondololo IT, amounting to R1bn.

This is related to a 2008 contract awarded to Sondololo IT for the provision of the delivery; installation and maintenance of CCTV and an access control system for court buildings identified as high-risk and its head office. The contact's value amounted to R600m and it ran between 2008 and 2015 while another contract for surveillance monitoring services in the same buildings totalled R374m and ended last September.

Masutha said he was acting in this regard. "The conduct of relevant officials in the security section coupled with the serious allegations made at the Zondo commission has led the department to secure services of an audit and advisory firm to review all security contracts awarded since 2006, with specific focus on contracts awarded to Bosasa and its subsidiaries," said Masutha.

He said the auditing firm should complete its review in three months' time.

The minister said there were serious manoeuvres by department officials that undermined supply-chain management systems, thus undermining and eroding confidence in the department's internal governance system.

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