South Africa: Correctional Services Makes Alternate Catering Plans

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18 February 2019

The Department of Correctional Services says it has urgently set up a war room to work on an in-depth operational plan to facilitate a seamless transition in the event of any disruption to nutrition services at prisons.

This comes after FNB and ABSA announced they will be closing banking accounts belonging to African Global Operations, formerly BOSASA. The company announced it was undertaking voluntary liquidation.

"This has necessitated Correctional Services to embark on a continuity plan to ensure uninterrupted provision of nutrition at correctional centres.

"Any possible interruption of service related to African Global Operations will only be limited to seven management areas out of 46; which translates into 26 correctional centres, housing 46 434 inmates, only 29 percent of the total inmate population," said the department in a statement on Monday.

The war room has activated the emergency response plan which will mitigate both the identified risks and those that may accidentally emerge.

Also, said the department, a security plan has also been activated which will ensure that safety and security is maintained.

The department is today meeting with National Treasury to set up systems to address any challenges that may arise during this transitional phase.

The ongoing Judicial Commission of 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.

On Monday, Correctional Services said that since the testimony given by the former BOSASA CFO at the Zondo Commission of Enquiry, it had already started a review process in relation to all food services contracts.

"The department is at an advanced stage in terms of developing an alternative food services plan. An audit has been concluded to this effect, looking at, amongst others, the state of the kitchens including infrastructure and equipment (state vs service provider), financial and human resources, systems involved in procuring perishable goods where the department was not in a position to supply inputs, and the standard operating procedures."

The department said it was now critical to ensure correctional centres continue to operate without disruptions that could be occasioned by the change in the management of nutritional services in centres, responding directly to the mandate of corrections.

Meanwhile, the case against former Correctional Services and BOSASA officials, arrested in relation to charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud, will be heard in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 27 March 2019.

The Hawks arrested several people following a marathon investigation wherein almost R1.6 billion is said to have been misappropriated in the tender processes for the procurement of various services by the Department of Correctional Services.

The tenders were awarded to Bosasa Operations (Pty) Ltd and its affiliated or subsidiary companies.

The officials allegedly received and accepted gifts in the form of cash. They also allegedly received financial assistance in acquiring properties, acquiring motor vehicles from dealers, other assets and payments to travel agents for overseas travel.

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