South Africa: Bosasa Govt Contracts to Come Under Scrutiny in Parliamentary Committee Probe

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19 February 2019

Facilities management company Bosasa will be put under the microscope by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, the committee decided on Tuesday.

The committee met on Tuesday to determine its programme for the term, and decided to take a look at all the contracts the Department of Correctional Services has with Bosasa.

"All members agreed that this matter is urgent, particularly in light of reports about Bosasa's liquidation and the services Bosasa provides in South Africa's correctional facilities," reads a statement from the committee.

The committee will receive a status report on the contracts from the ministry on February 27.

DA MP James Selfe said perhaps it should be earlier, as the matter was urgent. Bosasa, which announced voluntary liquidation on Monday, provides food to thousands of people in centres around the country.

On Monday, the beleaguered facilities management and security company, now known as African Global Operations (AGO), announced it is under voluntary liquidation.

This after banks FNB and Absa announced that they would end their dealings with AGO by the end of the month due to the reputational damage their continued association with the company would bring.

Contracts still active

AGO and its directors have been accused of corruption and bribery in exchange for state contracts since at least 2008. The details of this alleged corruption were laid bare by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi during his testimony before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture. One of Agrizzi's allegations is that former ANC members on the committee were bribed to turn a blind eye to Bosasa dealings.

Conservative estimates calculated from early data and compiled by National Treasury show that Bosasa was paid roughly R12bn by the government between 2004 and today, through various departments and entities, News24 reported on Monday.

Correctional services could be seen as ground zero for the Bosasa scandal. Bosasa was first awarded multibillion-rand contracts by the Department of Correctional Services to supply catering services at prisons around the country in 2004 and 2005. These contracts are still active.

The contracts were the subject of a Special Investigating Unit probe that found in 2009 that bribes had been paid to correctional services commissioner Linda Mti and chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham in exchange for the tenders.

ANC MP Vincent Smith, who has also been accused of benefitting from Bosasa's largesse, is a member of the portfolio committee.

MPs to discuss Public Protector draft report

Apart from Bosasa, the committee will also deal with a report on the fitness of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to hold office.

The committee was to discuss its draft report into Mkhwebane's performance, but agreed to postpone it by a week, so that members have adequate time to peruse the draft.

Committee chairperson Madipoane Mothapo informed the meeting that she had received a request from some committee members to postpone the meeting, as they had only been informed of the agenda on Monday and had not yet seen the report.

The committee agreed that the draft report would be sent to committee members within 24 hours of the meeting, at the latest, so they can prepare for the committee's engagement next Tuesday.


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