JUSTICE and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha has confirmed in Parliament that he has been taken to court by a company awarded a R378 million tender after the National Treasury blocked the contract.
Masutha told journalists before his budget vote speech yesterday he had also told Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan he could not cancel the contract as the Auditor-General still has to do an audit.
The tender was questioned by both the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and Parliament ‘s standing committee on finance.
“The Inmate Management System is aimed at constituting one of the pillars of the integrated justice system, the budget of which is held by justice,” Masutha said.
The Department of Justice was to release the budget for the tender in tranches for the next three years.
Masutha said Scopa then raised questions on this tender. National Treasury also asked questions about it and blocked it.
“If arising out of this court process, if there is basis for us to take action, we will certainly do so,” said Masutha.
He later confirmed this in the National Assembly during the debate on his budget vote.
“There is litigation by the winning bidder that due process was not followed in the manner this matter was handled,” he said.
DA MP James Selfe also questioned the tender during the budget vote debate and said corruption was rampant in the department of correctional services and no action was taken against officials and companies involved.
He added that Scopa was correct in its remarks that the tender appeared tailor-made for the winning company.
Mmabatho Mokause of the EFF said it cannot be allowed that this tender was inflated from R50m to R378m.
Sibusiso Mncwabe of the National Freedom Party said it was disturbing that there were irregularities in this tender. The ACDP’s Steve Swart said they commended the National Treasury for taking action.