Councils fork out millions for dodgy IT system

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POLOKO TAU AND BALDWIN NDABA

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TWO GAUTENG municipalities have paid the controversial Lefatshe Technologies millions of rand towards the acquisition of a multifaceted Belgian IT system that opposition parties say has yet to be implemented.

Lefatshe Technologies was awarded a multimillion-rand contract to supply and implement a Cipal-integrated municipal IT system to Mogale City two years ago, and to Westonaria three years ago.

The same company has had its contract cancelled by the Bitou municipality in the Western Cape. Bitou mayor Memory Booysen said the system was “not working” three years after Lefatshe was paid R10 million.

Lefatshe denied this, saying the council had cited budgetary constraints in its termination letter.

The DA in Westonaria said a former manager had pushed for Westonaria, where he was working in 2009, to acquire Cipal.

Lefatshe said Cipal comprised modules for financial management; document handling; human resources; meeting and minute management; multi-year planning and budgeting; management information and business intelligence; town planning; cemetery planning; and stock management.

Westonaria had reportedly paid Lefatshe Technologies not less than R8m for Cipal by the middle of last year, but the council was yet to see it functioning.

In Mogale City, opposition parties were outvoted during the acquisition of Cipal through Lefatshe in 2010.

Lefatshe chief executive Coltrane Nyathi had just been arrested for allegedly paying a R200 000 bribe to two Home Affairs officials to avoid the cancellation of a R20m contract.

“We opposed the appointment of Lefatshe Technologies because of its questionable business ethics and the fact that the system had not been successfully installed anywhere in the country.

“Now, 18 months later, Cipal is not fully installed in Mogale City,” said the DA caucus leader in Mogale City, Dennis Pretorius.

“We’ve posed many questions that were not responded to by the mayor.”

Mogale City indicated in a report on results of tenders awarded for the period between July 1 and September 30, 2010 that Lefatshe was awarded an IT tender valued at R31m, noting next to this value: “final price to be negotiated”.

Pretorius said Mogale City was paying Lefatshe four times the R250 000 a month that former service provider BIQ was being paid to provide IT services.


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