Zondo Asks South Africa Authorities to Probe Prison-Food Tenders

By Bloomberg 1 February 2019
Deputy chief justice Ray Zondo chairs the first day of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture held in Johannesburg, South Africa, 20 August 2018. The official proclamation of the commission in the Government Gazette is that the commission is to inquire, investigate and make recommendations into any and all allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector with note to the Gupta brothers, former president Jacob Zuma and his son, Duduzane Zuma. EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

The head of a judicial panel probing corruption in South Africa directed the authorities to investigate allegations that almost 1 billion rand ($75 million) was paid to services company Bosasa to provide catering in the nation’s prisons without it doing the requisite work.

“There was no labor from Bosasa, it was the inmates that cooked,” Dennis Bloem, who chaired parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services from 2004 to 2009 while he was a member of the ruling African National Congress, told the panel Friday. “The only thing that Bosasa was doing was to give inmates a certificate for training.”

The commission of inquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was set up to probe the looting of taxpayer funds during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure. Over the past two weeks, Angelo Agrizzi, who served as Bosasa’s chief operating officer from 1999 to 2016, revealed how the company paid politicians and officials bribes to secure contracts and avoid prosecution.

One of Bosasa’s catering tenders that was awarded in July 2004 ran for three years and was worth 240 million rand ($18 million) a year, said Bloem, now a member of the Congress of the People, a small opposition party. Bosasa’s contracts ran until at least 2014, he said.

If Bloem’s testimony is true, “then the Department of Correctional Services was paying Bosasa millions of rands for absolutely nothing or very little,’’ Zondo said. DM


In other news...

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