No more living on easy street for prisoners

2009-10-14 13:16

PRISON inmates should do their own cleaning up and repair their own

televisions, the chairman of Parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional

services, Vincent Smith, said today.

Speaking during a briefing on outsourcing by the Department of

Correctional Services Smith said

he could not understand why the department was spending R5?million

a year on outsourcing for television maintenance.

“You are paying R2?million for cleaning when we have 164?000 bodies

in there who sit and watch TV all day,” said during,” he said.

“I am sure that among the 164?000 men and women we have there there

are some that are electricians. If there are not then it could take a year for

us to train them and they will do their own maintenance for their own TVs. But

because it is not our money we outsource maintenance for R5?million a year for


Smith promised to “make a noise about these things” until he was

removed from the committee. He told the department to make immediate cuts

otherwise Parliament would start “naming and shaming”.

“There are things you could cut overnight and my suggestion to you

is to go and cut them overnight otherwise Parliament will be forced to name and

shame. Certainly we can’t afford to spend R5 million a year.”

James Selfe, the DA MP, asked the correctional services officials

present why a R838.3?million catering contract was awarded to a company under

investigation by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

“This was a re-award to a contractor under investigation by the

SIU. According to its report, the SIU found evidence of corruption and of the

supplier manipulating tender specifications. It recommended recoveries and the

seizure of assets and has referred the matter to the National Prosecuting

Authority,” said Selfe. “I have great difficulty in understanding why, when a

company is being investigated for corruption, the tender is awarded to the same


Correctional services chief deputy commissioner Teboho Motseke said

the department did not know about the investigation when the contract was

awarded because the SIU report had only come out a year later.

Smith said the committee would investigate the awarding of the

contract further once it had examined the SIU report.

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