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Gauteng government’s express IT tender: PP confirms that FF Plus’s complaint is being investigated

The Public Protector (PP) has confirmed that the FF Plus's complaint about the express tender that the Gauteng government awarded to a service provider for IT services will be investigated. The FF Plus views the PP's involvement in the case as vital to determine whether there were any irregularities or unlawful conduct.

The circumstances surrounding the allocation of the tender set alarm bells ringing and that is why the FF Plus approached the PP.

According to a City Press report published on the 5th of April 2020, various other service providers lodged complaints regarding the matter with the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. A whistle blower also sent a letter about it to President Ramaphosa.

Firstly, it seems that service providers were only given two working hours to respond to the invitation to submit a tender seeing as the invitation e-mail was sent at 17:17 on the 25th of March and the tender had to be submitted by 10:00 on the 26th of March.

According to reports, the service provider who was awarded the tender, In2IT Technologies, responded swiftly with a 100-page tender document. Shortly after, the tender was reportedly awarded to the service provider. The entire process was finalised in less than 24 hours.

The current service provider, which is now being replaced, GSOC Security Services, argues that it is impossible to compile such a comprehensive tender document and have it ready in such a short period of time. According to the City Press report, there are officials in the Department who believe that the tender was created with a specific service provider in mind.

Secondly, it seems that there exists a conflict of interests between In2IT Technologies and executive members of the Gauteng government. Whether this has been addressed and resolved remains unclear.

According to the City Press report, the service provider is the sponsor of the Moroka Swallows soccer team in which the MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has interests.

Furthermore, it is reported that there have already been various attempts to get the service provider tenders from other government institutions, but without success. It only strengthens the suspicion that the Gauteng government specifically created the tender for this service provider and awarded it accordingly.

It is against this backdrop that the FF Plus decided to ask the PP to investigate the tender for any irregularities.

During the lockdown period, it is very important to keep a close eye on what the government is doing on all three levels seeing as all oversight structures are not yet functioning properly.

The FF Plus is well aware of the responsibility that this places on the party's shoulders and will not hesitate to take action if any irregularities are suspected.

Contact details: 082 391 3117

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