DCS commences catering project following Bosasa liquidation

Monday, February 25, 2019

From 8 March 2019, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) will start an offender skills development project as part of the plan towards internalising nutritional services.

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Michael Masutha made the announcement at a media briefing on various cases of corruption, in Pretoria.

The plan is part of efforts by the DCS to save the day after African Global Operations (formerly known as Bosasa), which supplies DCS with catering, filed for voluntary liquidation.

African Global Operations’ decision to file for liquidation, follows an announcement by two major banks, FNB and ABSA, that they would be closing the banking accounts belonging to the company on 28 February 2019.

“Following these developments, DCS management developed and implemented a business continuity plan to ensure that the provision of nutritional services is not disrupted.

“The department has developed an alternative food services plan to accommodate the viability of insourcing nutritional services,” said the Minister. 

The company was implicated at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The ongoing inquiry into allegations of State capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector, including organs of State, led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has heard testimony from an array of personalities revealing alleged corruption in the awarding of contracts with Bosasa.

African Global Operations currently services 26 kitchens with a population of 46 434 offenders.

The DCS has been outsourcing nutritional services since 2004 to various correctional centres through competitive bidding processes.

Masutha said processes to transfer skilled staff from other facilities to assist where necessary are currently underway.

“Part of the business continuity plan includes close consultations with National Treasury and organised labour in addressing some of the challenges that may arise,” said the Minister.

Masutha said he received a report of a pending meeting between the National Commissioner and the liquidator.

“In addition, management is also expected to conduct a cost benefit analysis and do a comparative study in relation to insourcing and outsourcing of nutritional services within the correctional environment,” he said.

As far back as 2006, the President issued a proclamation to probe allegations of corrupt activities in the awarding of contracts to BOSASA, namely for nutritional services, access control, fencing and televisions.

The 2009 report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), in this regard, made the following recommendations to the Department of Correctional Services:

  • Disciplinary action to be instituted against the then Chief Financial Officer, Mr Patrick Gillingham.
  • The department to consider instituting civil proceedings against Bosasa to recover possible losses.
  • The NDPP to consider criminal charges against Mr Gillingham and the former National Commissioner, Mr Linda Mti as well as the company and individuals attached to it.

Since then, no criminal or civil proceedings were instituted. However, disciplinary proceedings were initiated against Gillingham in 2009 but he resigned.

“DCS did not request National Treasury to place Bosasa and its subsidiary companies on the restricted supplier's database,” said Masutha.

To date, DCS officials who were implicated in acts of corruption in the testimonies given before the Zondo Commission have been served with notices in accordance with rules of natural justice to show cause.

On-going SIU investigations

Masutha said the SIU is currently investigating contracts related to electronic monitoring; Independent Development Trust (IDT) on fencing projects and DCS KwaZulu-Natal procurement of various services.

“Once the investigations are concluded, we will once again brief the public on the findings thereof and recommended steps to be taken,” said the Minister.

Thus far, the SIU has made findings on the irregularity of contracts related to infrastructure assessment (MSW) and electronic monitoring system (EMS).

“We look forward to a speedy conclusion of these investigations in line with our earlier stated commitment to deal with corruption wherever it rears its ugly head,” said Masutha. – SAnews.gov.za