Lamola’s decision could cost Correctional Services millions

Issued by Janho Engelbrecht MP – DA Shadow Minister of Correctional Services
01 Aug 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Janho Engelbrecht MP.

The Department of Correctional Services could lose millions of rands after Minister Ronald Lamola went ahead and terminated its contract with Bloemfontein Correctional Contracts Proprietary Limited (BCC), the contractor managing the Mangaung prison where Thabo Bester escaped. It appears Lamola ignored the mediation clause in the contract.

In a recent Order of the High Court in Pretoria, Judge Lenyai ordered that Minister Lamola and BCC must enter into mediation as per the contract. Lamola is also not allowed to terminate the contract, pending the final determination of the application.

During the Portfolio Committee meeting where all Role players in the Thabo Bester escape saga were questioned by Members, the DA warned that there is a mediation clause in the contract and that Minister Lamola can’t terminate it, as he indicated he would do.

It has also come to the DA’s attention that the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) were not sufficiently prepared to take over management of the facility. The DA again raised concerns about the financial risk the Department would be exposed to after Minister Lamola commenced with steps to summarily terminate the contract. These concerns ultimately fell on deaf ears.

The court order further states that in the event that mediation fails, the matter will be set down for urgent determination on 19 September. The financial risk for the Department of Correctional Services should they lose this case is enormous.

In light of this recent court order and information received relating to DCS’s ability to assume management of the facility, the DA will request the Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Mr. Magwanishe to urgently request that DCS provides proof of their ability and readiness to take control of the Mangaung facility to the Portfolio Committee. This will ensure that the Committee effectively performs its oversight role over the activities of the Department.