State firm’s Boeremag scandal
It emerged during a briefing by State Information Technology Agency (Sita) chief executive Dr Setumo Mohapi to Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) that a forensic probe last year found that two employees of the Sita, which procures and manages IT services for the state, had exchanged communication with Andre du Toit, who was jailed in 2013 for high treason.
Mohapi said the information came to light while Sita was investigating employees in the supply chain management division following allegations of irregularities involving contracts worth billions of rands procured on behalf of SAPS.
“On a pursuit of a particular trail that had nothing to do with them (Boeremag), what we do is we seize computing devices of employees and do a forensic investigation, and it was during the seizure of a device of an employee that we found that particular relationship,” he said speaking on the sidelines of the meeting with MPs.
Mohapi said there were direct e-mails between an employee and Du Toit, as well as with members of his family.
One of the employees resigned before his disciplinary process could be concluded, while another woman was on suspension.
“We are cleaning up now. Over these years, have there been issues?
“You can’t tell (but it’s) safe to say there’s evidence of collusive behaviour in tenders by third parties and obviously a suggestion that money could have flown from SAPS all the way to providing financial support to the families of people in correctional services - the Boeremag,” said Mohapi.
The Sita and SAPS are set to go to court after one of the outside service providers under investigation, Keith Keating of Forensic Data Analysis (FDA), threatened to and followed through on switching off critical information technology systems used by the police, including the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM) and Firearm Permit System (FPS).
Keating claims the police have not paid him the required maintenance payments since December.
Sita later switched the systems back on, locking FDA out and prompting the legal action.
DA MP Tim Brauteseth said the latest evidence of e-mails to Du Toit was disturbing, “detailing the support they’re giving him in prison, detailing letters back thanking them for their support in prison”.
“We’re concerned that sensitive and key people in the Sita and FDA are communicating on such a familiar basis with Du Toit while he’s in prison.
“We’re concerned there could be a link there between what sort of financing has been done from the side of Sita and from the side of SAPS,” said Brauteseth.
ANC MP Vincent Smith said news of the exchange of e-mails was concerning and could not be ignored.
“It raises a whole lot of worrisome information regarding what I would deem to be organised groupings that are siphoning money from the state without any value for money being returned and the recipients thereof.
“(It) is something I think we need to investigate further. You heard members talking about who the possible recipients are and, if that is true, I think that it’s a big problem we cannot ignore,” said Smith.
Smith said this was another case of state capture.
“The Sita is the nerve centre of the IT system in government and if you capture the nerve centre, you will be in a position to capture or influence every other system of government by virtue of where you are based,” he said.
Earlier during the meeting, IFP MP Mkuleko Hlengwa said he was certain that the “tentacles of the cabal extended beyond Sita to the very heart of SAPS”.
National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole said SAPS was conducting its own probe into the Boeremag angle, but he would not divulge details.
“There is somewhere where we have initiated our own investigations which are more deeply crime-intelligence orientated, also covert orientated.
“We are unable to share all the information, especially for the public domain but I would like to confirm that the information of the Boeremag has been brought to our attention,” Sitole said.
Head of the police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Robert McBride also weighed in, saying a bigger question needed to be answered.
“The question needs to be asked whether the SAPS vehicle has been used to fund a white supremacist, non-constitutional organisation whose sole aim is to destroy, by violence, the constitutional order,” he said. The Boeremag were responsible for planting various bombs and conspiring to plant more in a campaign to destabilise the country by attempting to bring about a race war in 2002. Many of their leaders were later arrested and jailed, including Du Toit and his brother.
African News Agency contacted staff in the Department of Correctional Services, but they have yet to respond to questions.