World Cup: R170 million to refurbish 200 carriers

2013-04-02 00:00

THE police spent over R170 million to refurbish 200 Nyala armoured personnel carriers for the 2010 World Cup — although some of them were only delivered after the tournament.

In his report about the use of consultants by national government departments, auditor-general Terence Nombembe highlighted that the bungled deal saw the costs escalating by more than 100%.

Media24 Investigations filed an access to information application with the police to reveal the identities of the companies that were involved in the deal, as well as a breakdown of the finances.

The documents revealed that one of the owners of the two companies who scored in the deal is Donald Buti Ramfolo, whose name was mentioned by Turkcell in its sensational Washington lawsuit against MTN. The lawsuit relates to the so-called Iran bribe scandal in which the company is embroiled.

According to the allegations around the bribing scandal, Ramfolo — then a Denel regional marketing manager — had written to an Iranian official stating, “We at Denel feel honoured to have received your request for co-operation in the helicopter support field.”

But Ramfolo this week said this had nothing to do with MTN and that at the time Denel was pursuing several dealings with Iran’s military, but that it had to be canned because of international sanctions against that country.

Ramfolo’s Black Capital was one of the companies that scored in the Nyala deal, but according to Nombembe, it was the main culprit in delivering almost two thirds of the vehicles after the World Cup.

Its counterpart, BAE Land Systems, had also delivered 13% of the Nyalas it refurbished late.

According to the AG’s report, the two companies were appointed at an estimated cost of R79 537 771, but ultimately R176 753 043 was paid out to them.

The AG said that the cost increased because both consultants’ contracts were based on hourly rates and price per item, and didn’t include maximum contract values. He also said that the Nyalas were in a worse condition than what had been projected.

“During needs assessment before appointing the consultants, the department underestimated the cost to refurbish these specialised armoured vehicles.

“The department hadn’t refurbished any Nyala vehicles in the past, nor did the department have the required expertise and skills to perform accurate assessments and estimates,” Nombembe said in his report.

But he also said that the department had failed to impose penalties on the consultants for late delivery and it didn’t give any reason why it didn’t do so, which made it difficult for auditors to quantify the penalties.

Both Ramfolo and BAE alluded to the late delivery, but said that it was not their fault that the Nyalas were not delivered on time for the tournament.

“Those Nyalas were rotten and rusted and it took police time to deliver them to us. The SAPS also took their time on approvals, which resulted in us getting the cars late. We never over-priced them. The cost went up because of the conditions those Nyalas were in. They couldn’t penalise us because their project officers knew exactly how far we were with our work and saw the delays,” said Ramfolo.

BAE’s Natasha Pheiffer also said that the vehicles were delivered late by the police.

“Due to late deliveries of the vehicles from SAPS, the final delivery of some completed vehicles to SAPS was delayed. Many of these vehicles were also in a much worse condition than originally anticipated and needed more structural repair than some of the other vehicles,” Pheiffer said.

By the time of going to press, police hadn’t responded to the media inquiry sent to them earlier in the week.

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