The extension of the PPP procurement method to custodial services was met with a lot of resistance and disapproval from some quarters within and without the government circles in South Africa. The model utilized in the two facilities currently in operation is design, construct, finance, operate and maintain. The recent invocation of a “step-in” clause in one of the facility was regarded as a vindication that private operators are contextually unsuitable to manage the correctional facilities in South Africa. This research interrogated the monitoring mechanisms set up to oversee the running of the facility and the operational management pitfalls that necessitated this intervention. Through interviews with the private operators, consultants, government officials and the PPP Unit, proper insight was garnered about what could have gone wrong. It was demonstrated that private management is not foolproof against the challenges of managing a facility housing dangerous convicts. Because of the operational challenges encountered by private operators there was a strong advocation for an adaptation of the PPP model where there is a hybrid in management, since South Africa initially entered into PPP arrangements due to lack of finance not due to ineffective management acumen. The study is instructive to future correctional services facilities and inspirational to other jurisdictions where the arrangement is currently mooted.
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