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PP confirms FF Plus’s complaint that Gauteng e-Government’s express tender for IT security was irregularly awarded

The Public Protector (PP) confirmed that the express tender and contract for IT security services, which were awarded to a company with ANC ties in less than 24 hours, are indeed irregular.

The FF Plus lodged a complaint with the PP on the 6th of April 2020, requesting an investigation into the contract for IT security services that the Gauteng government awarded to a service provider.

At the time, various dissatisfied service providers also lodged complaints about the matter with the Minister of Communications and Digital Technology, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

A whistle-blower even sent a letter about it to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

No progress had been made with the case until the PP investigated the FF Plus's complaint and found that the express tender was irregularly awarded to In2IT Technologies by the Gauteng Department for e-Government.

The FF Plus will request the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura, to set the contract aside in accordance with the PP's findings and to take the steps needed to prevent something like this from happening again. The FF Plus will also approach The Hawks to investigate whether any corruption had taken place.

In April 2020, the media reported that the tender was awarded under strange circumstances. This compelled the FF Plus to approach the PP about the matter.

In the first place, it seems that with the invitation to tender, service providers were only given two working hours to prepare and submit a tender. The invitation to tender was sent via e-mail at 17:17 on the 25th of March and the requirement was that tenders had to be submitted by 10:00 on the 26th of March.

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

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

Although it appeared that there may exist a conflict of interests between In2IT Technologies and members of the Gauteng government, the PP found that there seems to be no evidence to support any irregularities in that regard.

According to the City Press report, In2IT Technologies is a sponsor of the Moroka Swallows soccer team in which the MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has interests.

Furthermore, it was alleged that there had already been various other attempts to get In2IT Technologies tenders from other government institutions, but without success.

This strengthened the FF Plus's suspicion that the Gauteng government created the tender specifically for this service provider and awarded it accordingly.

Despite the finding that Lesufi does not have any direct ties with In2IT Technologies, the FF Plus will conduct its own investigation into the possibility of a conflict of interests between the company and the Gauteng government.

The PP's finding once again serves as proof that the ANC simply cannot be trusted with public funds.

It is encouraging to see that the PP's regional offices are still successful in conducting investigations into the ANC government despite the personal problems currently experienced by the head of the PP.

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