R185m SABC security tender was 'irregular' - SIU report

A preliminary Special Investigating Unit probe has found that a R185m SABC security tender was irregularly awarded by its interim board and should be set aside.

The SIU says these initial investigations reveal that the "SABC flouted its own procurement policies" in awarding the tender to second-ranked bidder Mafoko Security, which was reportedly R2m more expensive than the highest ranked bidder Mjayeli Security. The tender was for the provision of security services to the SABC over a five-year period.

SIU forensic investigator Jande van der Merwe now says the unit's interim findings on the awarding of the security tender conclude that the way in which the SABC's bid evaluations committee was constituted was "irregular".

In an affidavit filed at the South Gauteng High Court, she says the SIU has also provisionally concluded that the public broadcaster violated the constitutional requirement that procurement be conducted using a system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective.

She said the SIU is also investigating "an array of allegations of corruption and maladministration" linked to the security tender and identified by board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini. In a letter to the unit dated March 1 2018, he stated that "a number of whistleblowers have been identified that have knowledge of the incidents of fraud and corruption and/or irregularities. regarding the evaluation process leading to the recommendation stages of the tender process".

The SIU's interim findings on the SABC security tender have been revealed in court documents, as the axed former head of supply chain management at the SABC, Simon Mulaudzi, and former SABC general manager of supply chain governance Ayanda Mkhize both claim they were fired on "trumped-up charges" because they "knew too much" about alleged impropriety linked to the security tender.

SABC attorney Sandile July said there was no connection between the charges bought against the pair and the security tender. He says the charges came about as a result of a parliamentary portfolio committee investigation into the administration of the SABC, which saw President Cyril Ramaphosa issuing a proclamation in July to authorise an SIU investigation into the public broadcaster.

Tebogo Malatji, the lawyer representing former interim board members Khanyisile Kweyama, Krish Naidoo, John Mattison and Mathatha Tsedu, last week denied there was any link between their recent resignations from the SABC and the security tender.

Malatji told the SABC that his clients did not believe there were any irregularities in how the security tender had been awarded.

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