SIU begins probe into R30m Gauteng e-government contract
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Cape Town - South Africa's Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will probe a R30-million Gauteng government information technology tender on suspicion that the rules were bent under cover of the Covid-19 crisis, spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said on Tuesday.
"We have seconded people to go and gather information," Kganyago said.
He added that the SIU was simultaneously drafting a proclamation for signature by President Cyril Ramaphosa that will pave the way for a full-scale investigation.
"Parallel to that, the process of drafting a proclamation will be under way and we will expedite it in order to start a full-scale investigation once the president has signed it.
"We acknowledge the fact that we need to deal with this with the urgency it deserves," he said, adding that staff members were recalled from lockdown seclusion and seconded to Gauteng Premier David Makhura's office to gather information about the tender process.
Makhura on Tuesday asked the SIU to probe allegations that the tender was irregularly awarded by the Department of e-Government.
Media reports have said the contract was awarded to In2IT Technologies following a tender process that was open for only two business hours. It is alleged that the Gauteng government authorities used the health crisis to circumvent the usual tender rules to rush through the deal.
Competing bidders cried foul.
City Press reported that Gauteng Finance and e-Government MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko obtained permission from Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to deviate from normal procurement processes.
In2IT Technologies sponsors Moroka Swallows football club.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who helped to rescue the debt-ridden club before recusing himself from ownership, said on Twitter that he had asked it to begin the process of severing its ties with the technology company, without commenting as to its guilt or innocence in any alleged tender rule violation.
In2IT Technologies could not be reached for comment, while a spokesperson for Ndabeni-Abrahams, who has been placed on special leave for breaching the lockdown rules by socialising, failed to respond to a request for comment.