Correctional services 'havoc' runs deeper than Bosasa: Dennis Bloem

Former COPE MP, Dennis Bloem.
Former COPE MP, Dennis Bloem.

Former Congress of the People (COPE) MP Dennis Bloem says there has been "havoc" in the correctional services department since 1994.

Bloem‚ who appeared before the state capture inquiry on Friday‚ said he had information to corroborate some of the evidence former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi detailed to the commission during his testimony last week.

Bloem was speaking in his capacity as a former ANC member who served on parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services from 1994 and chaired that committee between 2004 and 2009.

"When I was following this commission‚ when Agrizzi was testifying‚ I said I must come to the commission because what Agrizzi was saying I know for a fact that it is what has happened in the correctional services committee‚" Bloem said.

"We had serious problems when it comes to the leadership of the department‚ the top leadership‚ not with the ordinary members. We had very serious problems when it came to accountability from the department. In meetings ... either information would come late or the information would not be there at all. This was clearly undermining the authority of the committee."

Bloem detailed a timeline of the relationship between the committee and correctional services officials.

"Before Linda Mti‚ there was Khulekani Sithole. Havoc. If investigators can go back and check what has happened they will find more damning things than this Bosasa in relation to corruption under the leadership of Khulekani Sithole‚" Bloem said.

Mti‚ who is at the centre of the corruption scandal involving Bosasa and correctional services‚ was appointed as commissioner of the department in 2001.

"I raised many things in meetings [with then correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour]‚ talking about these problems‚ and it was never addressed. His attitude was to let us leave the department to sort out those problems‚" Bloem said.

"There was a breakdown of relationship between the committee and the DCS executive authority."

Bloem said "the only person who tried to bring DCS back in line" was its former boss‚ Vernie Petersen.

The commission continues.

- TMG Digital.

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