Prison contracts improperly procured - Madonsela

Pretoria - The correctional services department "improperly" contracted service providers, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Wednesday.

"During my investigation I found that service providers on the database were improperly procured as there was no open tender process," she told reporters in Pretoria.

"The department failed to implement a procurement system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective."

The department's conduct was improper and amounted to maladministration, she said.

"The department accepted the findings and is in the process of terminating current contracts and advertising the tender."

Madonsela said the tenders were for the provision of sport clothing. She asked for copies of the terminating letters to the service providers, and recommended proper procurement procedures be complied with when appointing new service providers.

The improper tenders were found during an investigation into another case involving the department.

A small business owner wanted to supply department employees with sports clothing.

"The complainant's application was declined on the basis that the department did not have a need for an additional service provider," Madonsela said.

She found the process of engaging with him failed as he was not given written reasons, or informed on how to appeal the decision, despite his request. This failure was a violation of the complainant's right to administrative lawful action.

"The department's conduct was accordingly improper and constitutes maladministration," Madonsela said.

"The complainant was prejudiced by the department's conduct in that he waited without knowing about the reasons for the department's decision and could not take the decision on appeal or review."

Madonsela recommended a letter of apology be sent to the complainant for how his application was handled, and that action be taken against the wrongdoer. The protector said she would monitor the remedial action.

- Sapa

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