Is Zondo commission tainted?

2018-07-29 07:29
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

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The Zondo commission into state capture has appointed a subsidiary to a company accused of corruption to provide security services without a tender process being followed.

An SIU report, which was handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority in 2009, found that Bosasa officials had paid bribes to former prisons boss Linda Mti and department of correctional services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham to secure multimillion-rand tenders from the department.

City Press revealed details of this report in 2011.

Sondolo IT (now Global Technology Systems), Bosasa Operations and Phezulu Fencing (another Bosasa subsidiary) were awarded tenders of more than R2bn to operate kitchens, install access control systems and fences at prisons around the country.

These deals formed part of the investigation by the SIU.

Corrupt multimillion-rand tenders

Global Technology Systems (GTS) scored a R10m deal to install and maintain CCTV and access control systems at the commission's new premises - two floors of Hillside House in Parktown, Johannesburg.

GTS is a fully owned subsidiary of the Bosasa Group, which has been accused of capturing the department of correctional services through a series of allegedly corrupt multimillion-rand tenders over a decade.

In November 2017 the NPA's spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed to News24 that it was making good progress in the case after a fresh team of advocates was appointed.

The NPA is yet to make a decision whether or not to charge Bosasa executives.

Company records show that Sondolo IT changed its name to Global Technology Systems in June 2017 - but its directorship underwent very little change. Four of the six current directors of GTS were at the company when the allegedly corrupt tenders were awarded to it in 2006.

Bosasa changed its name to African Global Operations at the same time.

The company still has lucrative government tenders with correctional services, the departments of justice and home affairs, Airports Company SA and numerous provincial departments of social development.

The Zondo Commission deal was apparently awarded to GTS by the department of justice and constitutional development, which is seemingly in charge of the commission's R230m budget, after GTS was "nominated" and no tender process was followed.

Minutes for a meeting between the various service providers for the commission held on July 5 state: "Due to the late response by the landlord over talks of competency to oversee and manage the installation and commissioning of the access control system, a nominated sub-contractor (GTS) was engaged and commissioned to commence with the installation.

"The office of the secretary and the DOJ&CD confirmed that the project can continue whilst other supply chain management processes, including deviation, are pursed [sic] and approved accordingly."

Zuma birthday parties

The secretary of the Commission is Dr Khotso De Wee - the chief operations officer of the DOJ since 2005 and also the acting secretary-general in the Office of the Chief Justice.

De Wee was at the DOJ when it awarded a tender to safeguard numerous courts in the country to Sondolo IT.

News24 revealed in November last year that former president Jacob Zuma's birthday parties for 2015 and 2016 were sponsored by Bosasa - at a combined cost of around R3.5m paid for through Zuma's foundation, which was headed by controversial former SAA head, Dudu Myeni.

The birthday bashes were family-only events - but it emerged that several Bosasa executives including Watson attended. A smiling Watson was pictured at Zuma's 73rd birthday party with Zuma dancing nearby.

On Friday, De Wee also responded to questions sent to the Commission on Thursday by requesting for a full report on issues raised by News24 in the query - but had not answered questions over who had recommended GTS as a service provider, the cost of its services or how the Commission's procurement was governed.

"The Commission will also seek reports from the relevant Departments on matters you raised, after which a full response will be provided," De Wee said.

By yesterday, the commission had not responded further to what is included in the story.

Spokesperson for African Global Papa Leshabane responded to queries yesterday indicating that "the correct questions" were sent to "the wrong people".

He did not respond to detailed questions seeking to establish how GTS secured the deal.

On Friday, two men wearing Sondolo IT branded jackets were spotted by News24 manning an X-ray scanner at the entrance to the temporary facilities used by the Commission at Hill on Empire, a building also in Parktown, following a media briefing by the Commission Chair, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

Cost of equipment and installation

The men confirmed they were working for GTS and a GTS branded vehicle was seen in the parking lot.

According to GTS quotes seen by News24, dated May 21, 2018, it will cost the Commission R1.6m for project management fees.

Access control systems, which includes 30 biometric scanners, magnetic door locks and an X-ray bag scanner will cost R1.8m and a CCTV system R700 000.

The X-ray scanner is priced at R622 957 and a walk-through metal detector, R102 255.

It will cost the Commission a total of R5m for all the equipment and installation.

On May 28, GTS submitted two more quotes - the provision of maintenance for the systems at R1.6m for a period of three years, and a further R3m for the provision of 12 "Grade B X-Ray Operators" - also for three years.

The Commission was granted an interim order by the North Gauteng High Court this week granting an application seeking a two-year extension of its 180 day deadline.

Interested parties - which include President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Public Protector and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) - will be given an opportunity to provide reasons for or against the extension in October.

Read more on:    raymond zondo  |  state capture

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