Prisons may extend 'corrupt' tender
Adriaan Basson, City Press
Johannesburg - The prisons department is considering extending a multimillion-rand catering tender that, according to the special investigating unit (SIU), was awarded corruptly in the first place.
City Press has learnt that the department of correctional services met representatives of Bosasa Operations last week to discuss extending the company’s R1bn tender to provide food to seven management areas countrywide.
This comes after prisons commissioner Tom Moyane told Parliament last year kitchens in prisons would be taken over by prison staff in 2012.
Prison kitchens were privatised in 2004 when the department, under prisons boss Linda Mti, awarded Bosasa its first multimillion-rand correctional services tender. City Press revealed last year that an SIU investigation found an “improper and corrupt” relationship existed between senior correctional services officials and Bosasa.
Mti received a luxury Midrand house from Bosasa, the SIU found. The Hawks are currently probing Bosasa’s dealing with the prisons department.
Now Moyane is considering extending Bosasa’s contract because prisons aren’t ready to provide food to prisoners themselves.
Four advocates were asked by Moyane to “urgently” provide him with a legal opinion on whether Bosasa’s contract could be extended for 18 months.
The advocates – including silks Marumo Moerane and Vincent Maleka – advised Moyane on January 19 not to extend Bosasa’s contract, but to advertise a fresh tender.
"The legislative and policy framework is clear with regard to procuring goods and services for amounts exceeding R500 000," reads their legal opinion.
Moyane’s spokesperson, Phumlani Ximiya, said a decision has not yet been made.
“However, it can be acknowledged that negotiations with the service provider are ongoing to consider various options regarding the provision of nutritional services”.
He said the department was confronted with “challenges relating to human resources, equipment and infrastructure”.
Ximiya denied that the department endorsed corruption. “It should be stated that the corruption allegations found to have occurred in the 2004 nutrition contract are currently dealt with by the Hawks after the department had requested their involvement in the light of the SIU report.”
At last week’s launch of Cosatu’s Corruption Watch initiative, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said: “With corruption in government, all members must be dealt with, irrespective of rank or status.”
Radebe said corruption was a criminal act that “steals the fruit of our struggle and we must declare it our enemy, as apartheid was".
"If we acknowledge that corruption is a way of life in South Africa, we have lost the battle."