Prisoners and staff cook their own meals after Bosasa contract ended

21 August 2019 - 16:28 By Orrin Singh
Department of correctional services acting KZN commissioner James Smallburger at a press briefing at Westville prison on Wednesday.
Department of correctional services acting KZN commissioner James Smallburger at a press briefing at Westville prison on Wednesday.
Image: Orrin Singh

Prisoners are cooking their own food at correctional facilities around the country.

This was revealed by department of correctional services acting KwaZulu-Natal commissioner James Smallburger during a media briefing in Durban on Wednesday. 

Smallburger told media that inmates and prison staff were responsible for prepping and cooking the food after the termination of the Bosasa food contract. He was speaking to media following an indaba at the Westville Correctional Centre on Wednesday which had been presented by national commissioner Arthur Fraser on finding ways of instilling progressive social reintegration of inmates. 

Responding to questions on whether the department had procured the services of another contractor following its decision earlier this year to terminate the Bosasa food contract, Smallburger said: “No service provider was appointed to replace Bosasa.”

He said the department had taken over and insourced the task of preparing food and meals for inmates. 

“We have taken over as department of correctional services. We insourced it and currently the offenders and the staff are preparing the food and the meals for all the offenders incarcerated in Westville. As Westville or Durban has taken over the nutritional services of Bosasa, so did all the facilities in South Africa,” he said.

In February, TimesLIVE reported that the department had issued African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa) with a 30-day notice for termination of catering contracts at prisons.

Justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha said this came after the company notified the department of its intention to apply for voluntary liquidation following the closing of its bank accounts by FNB and Absa.

Smallburger said there were other contracts in place for the supply of nutritional ingredients to facilities. 

“Obviously there are other contracts in terms of the food that we need to buy. You need to buy maize meal, you need to buy eggs - those things.”

He encouraged service providers near prisons to submit the right tender documents in order to be evaluated. 

“As we did in February and March, we encourage service providers to make use of the opportunity - after we have taken and insourced the Bosasa nutritional contract - and encourage the community surrounding those facilities to come forward and to place the tender documentation so we can evaluate them, because they need to deliver food to our facilities,” he said.