Prisons activate new plan to feed inmates as Bosasa gets liquidated

Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi testified at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture sitting in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi testified at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture sitting in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Image: ALON SKUY

The department of correctional services has activated an emergency response plan to ensure that inmates are fed after its service provider Bosasa filed for voluntary liquidation.

The African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa, announced yesterday that it would be winding up.

This came after FNB and Absa informed the company of their decisions to close its banking accounts. The department had started reviewing the multi-million rand contracts it has with the company, following the damning testimony by former Bosasa COO, Angelo Agrizzi at the Zondo state capture inquiry.

Agrizzi laid bare the corrupt relationship the company enjoyed with senior department officials who received huge bribes in exchange for tenders.

Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said a war room had been set up to draw up an operational plan in case of disruptions to nutrition services. "Any possible interruption of service related to African Global Operations will only be limited to seven management areas out of 46; housing 46,434 inmates, which is 29% of the total inmate population," he said.

Nxumalo said an emergency response plan has been activated to mitigate identified and accidental risks that may emerge during the transition.

"A security plan has also been activated which will ensure that safety and security is maintained. The department met with National Treasury yesterday to set up systems to address any challenges that may arise during the transitional phase," Nxumalo said.

He said the department had already started reviewing the contracts it had with the controversial company.

"The department is at an advanced stage in terms of developing an alternative food services plan," he said.

Agrizzi gave damning testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture on the corruption and bribes relating to the firm's contracts with various government departments.

African Global Operations' Johannes Gumede yesterday said they received notification from the banks of their decision to close its bank accounts by the end of February.

"The extensive reputational damage in the past few months, occasioned by negative media reports, has resulted in financial institutions' determination that the African Global group poses a reputational risk for them as client," Gumede said.

Since Agrizzi's testimony, four former top correctional services officials have been
arrested and charged with
corruption and money laundering.

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