The DA welcomes the Department of Correctional Services’ plan to provide remand detainees with prison uniforms, differentiating them from convicted inmates. But, at a cost of R31 million to the taxpayer, I will be submitting parliamentary questions to ensure that South Africans get value for their money and that any contracts awarded are done so properly.
The cost of R31 million (approx. R704 per detainee) will provide yellow uniforms for 44 000 remand detainees in 243 correctional facilities awaiting trial to distinguish them from convicted inmates who currently wear orange. It has long been the policy of the Department to do so, but has not been acted upon. The DA congratulates the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mike Masutha, for at last giving meaning to this correctional services policy.
Remand detainees are often held for long periods with only the clothes on their back, and no means to obtain clean clothes. The DA believes that these prisoners awaiting their day in court should be treated with dignity as is consistent with correctional services policy and our constitution – including prison gear that can be cleaned and changed, and differentiates remand detainees from their convicted neighbors.
However, the DA cautions Minister Masutha to ensure that no undue political influence occurs when awarding this contract to private companies, where these materials come from and whether or not the Department of Correctional Services properly facilitated a competitive tender process to get a deal most beneficial to the detainee.
The cost of each detainee sits at approximately R704 and seems quite high and given the Department’s long history and inability to facilitate competitive tender processes, the DA will be scrutinising every aspect of this initiative to ensure no collusion has taken place.
Chairperson of DA Federal Council | Shadow Minister of Correctional Services
Source : Democratic Alliance