Correctional services officials are hard at work to put emergency measures in place to deal with the potential fallout if facilities management company Bosasa is not able to provide food to thousands of prisoners around the country.
Bosasa, now named African Global Operations, announced on Monday that its board had decided to place the company under voluntary liquidation.
This followed a decision by Bosasa's bankers, FNB, to terminate the company's accounts.
Bosasa provides three meals a day to prisoners at 26 prisons which house collectively 46 434 prisoners - 29% of the total inmate population of correctional facilities in the country.
READ: Bosasa: Workers protest amid sudden shutdown plan
This was revealed in a press statement issued by correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo on Monday.
"DCS has urgently set up a war room, capacitated with work streams captains, working on an in-depth operational plan which will immediately kick-in to facilitate a seamless transition in the in the event of any disruption to nutrition services," the statement read.
The 'war room' had activated an emergency response plan, designed to mitigate the risks presented by Bosasa being unable to provide food at the facilities. This includes a 'security plan'.
"The department will be meeting with National Treasury today (18 February 2019) with a view to set up systems to address any challenges that may arise during the transitional phase."
Nxumalo adds that DCS had already launched an internal review process following testimony of corrupt practices involving the tenders awarded to Bosasa, which includes an audit of infrastructure that is in place.
"The department is at an advanced stage in terms of developing an alternative food services plan...what remains critical at this stage is to ensure that correctional centres continue to operate without disruptions that could be occasioned by the change in the management of nutritional services in our centres, responding directly to the mandate of corrections," the statement concludes.
A spokesperson for the department of home affairs, for which Bosasa runs the Lindela Repatriation Centre for illegal immigrants, told News24 that it would seek a meeting with Bosasa and was in the process of seeking legal advice.