Parys Correctional Facility closure: Corruption has knock-on effect

Issued by George Michalakis MP – DA Member of Parliament in the Select Committee on Security and Justice
18 Apr 2024 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by George Michalakis MP and Sesotho by Karabo Khakhau MP.

The prolonged closure of the Parys Correctional Facility costs taxpayers on average R345 000 per year extra in transport for 35 correctional services employees. These employees have to commute to Sasolburg and Parys respectively, daily. These costs do not include the effect on and availability of vehicles, or hours wasted on the road.

Furthermore, according to written replies to a DA question, received from the Department, the closure of the old Parys facility, with a bed space of 310 led to the Sasolburg facility is now occupied at 153% of capacity, according to replies to a DA question, received from the Department.

Closing the old facility concurrently with the Department of Public Works’ construction of a new adjacent facility, despite the foreseeable impact mentioned above, is unacceptable. A new facility was embarked on with a budget of R282 million.

Of greater concern is that a recent oversight visit by the DA to the new facility found that not much was done since December 2018 by the then-contractor NJR Projects (later G5 Group) of tenderpreneur Edwin Sodi. The contractor is alleged to not have paid sub-contractors and a new contractor, appointed in December 2023 has had to redo some of the work. The new contractor seems to be making good progress.

The project was supposed to have been completed by April 2023.

The DA will write to the public protector concerning the contract awarded to the G5 Group and will do a follow-up visit to the Sasolburg facility to inspect the consequences of this lack of planning and mismanagement. A government that is serious about establishing an effective criminal justice system, would ensure that the conditions for adequate rehabilitation are in place and that the employees tasked with administering such a system are treated fairly.

On 29 May voters have an opportunity to #RescueSA through voting in a DA government that will ensure safer communities.