Michael Masutha suspends senior prison's official over Bosasa contracts

Justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha.
Justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha.
Image: Trevor Samson

The department of justice and correctional services has appointed audit firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo to review all its security contracts awarded since 2006.

This was announced by minister Michael Masutha yesterday in response to allegations of corruption that emerged from the state capture commission of inquiry.

Masutha told reporters the department entered into a contract with Sondolo IT in 2008 for the supply, delivery, installation and maintenance of a comprehensive CCTV and access control system for a building identified as high risk and head office.

Sondolo is a subsidiary of Bosasa - now African Global Operations - which has been implicated in allegations of bribery and corruption.

Masutha also announced the suspension of a senior official in order to rid his department of the rot it had in its dealings with Bosasa.

He announced that his department had issued Bosasa with a 30-day notice to end its catering contracts in prisons.

The move came after Bosasa applied for voluntary liquidation following the closure of its bank accounts by FNB and Absa. Currently, the number of prisoners being fed by Bosasa is over 46,000.

Of the 240 prisons in SA, a total of 31 are catered for by private companies. Bosasa enjoys a lion's share of this at 26.

The contract with Sondolo was concluded in 2015 at a value of over R600m.

In September 2015, the contract was extended for an additional 36 months for corrective and preventative maintenance as per original contract.

The extended contract ended in September and its value was over R373m.

Of the 240 prisons in SA, a total of 31 are catered for by private companies. Bosasa enjoys a lion's share of this at 26.

However, Sondolo continued to render services on a month-to-month basis. For this, Masutha said a letter had been served on a senior official in security management in order for her to detail why she should not be put on precautionary suspension regarding the delay in procuring surveillance and monitoring for courts.

"As of this morning, 25 February 2019, an official in the security management of the department has been placed under precautionary suspension following an internal forensic investigation implicating [the official] in the irregular procurement of the services of Global Technology Solutions on behalf of the Zondo commission," Masutha said.

He said a Special Investigations Unit report did not detail how much money was lost by the state in the Bosasa corruption.

The report recommended that disciplinary action be instituted to then CFO Patrick Gillingham. It also recommended that civil proceedings be instituted against Bosasa to recover possible losses.

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