Justice Minister says 'in hindsight' alleged corrupt companies should have been blacklisted

2019-02-25 16:20
Justice Minister Michael Masutha. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

Justice Minister Michael Masutha. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

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The government could have prevented money being lost to corruption by blacklisting companies implicated in wrongdoing or putting them on a "restricted" list, said Justice Minister Michael Masutha on Monday. 

"Perhaps in hindsight we should have instituted blacklisting proceedings," said Masutha at a media briefing that featured government's response to allegations of corruption by prisons and courts service provider Bosasa, now African Global, and some government officials.

This followed astounding allegations made at the Zondo commission on state capture by former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi.

SIU recommendations

"But blacklisting was also not one of the recommendations of the [Special Investigating Unit] report," he said, referring to a probe by the SIU which started as far back as 2009. 

"From a situation where you have not actually blacklisted a company, it becomes difficult to [exclude] it from bidding," he said. 

"So I agree, blacklisting would have put a stop to continued procurement to a company (sic)," he said.  

Masutha said he had never turned a blind eye to any allegations of corruption brought to him, and challenged anyone who says he had to prove it.

He said there was never any indication of monies lost.

However, even though the justice department's contract with Bosasa subsidiary Sondolo IT for the CCTV and access control for court buildings, which was granted in 2008, was extended for maintenance only until September 2018, the company has to stay on as a month-to-month supplier.

This is because the security management section failed to prepare a business case and the required tender documents for procurement on time, so Sondolo IT was kept on.

"Following the delays in the finalisation of this process, considering the critical nature of this service, the department was left with no option but to keep the services of Sondolo IT, pending the appointment of a new service provider on a quotation basis," he said.

"The process is expected to be finalised soonest."

Contract review

Audit firm Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo has been appointed to review all security contracts awarded since 2006, with specific focus on Bosasa/African Global, and its subsidiaries. 

This review is expected to be completed in three months. 

An official in security management in the department was placed under precautionary suspension on Monday, and a second official must show why the same should not happen to her.

The department had also given AGO a 30 day notice to cancel its food services contract after it applied for liquidation. From March 8 the department will start an offender rehabilitation programme as part of plans to internalize nutritional services. 

Asked why it had taken a decade for action to be taken against the company, Masutha said the SIU and the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions had to reconcile case numbers first.

A meeting with prosecutions head advocate Shamila Batohi is set for Tuesday regarding an update on this.

*Please note that this article has been corrected to indicate that the in-sourcing will not start on 8 March, as previously reported. 

Read more on:    angelo agrizzi  |  michael masutha

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