Madonsela tackles home affairs
Adriaan Basson and Xolani Mbanjwa
Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli
Madonsela has started on her next big investigation: a “flawed”
R2.4bn tender to revolutionise the home affairs department.
has confirmed that she has appointed a team of investigators to probe
the controversial Who Am I Online tender, awarded by home affairs to
listed IT firm Gijima in 2007.
The tender was originally awarded
for R1.9bn in 2007, but the cost increased to R4.5bn before
it was cancelled by Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in
One of Madonsela’s focus points will be whether Gijima chief
executive Jonas Bogoshi was conflicted when, as chief of strategic
services at the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), he
participated in awarding the tender to Gijima and joined the company
less than 12 months later.
Gijima is chaired and partly owned by businessman Robert Gumede, who is a known ANC benefactor.
affairs and Gijima reached a settlement last year, in which the value
of the tender was reduced to R2.4bn and both parties agreed to
bear the financial brunt.
Auditor general Terence Nombembe disclosed this week that home affairs wrote off R321m as
unauthorised expenditure due to the Gijima settlement.
the single biggest contributor to the department incurring R1bn in
unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure in 2010/11.
also made home affairs the national department that recorded the
highest percentage of wasted expenditure – 16% of its R6.5bn
yearly budget was either wasted or spent irregularly.
Despite this, Nombembe lauded home affairs for improved performance and for receiving an unqualified audit opinion.
previously reported a loss of R374m due to settlement expenses.
Home affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni told City Press on Friday
the settlement with Gijima had no effect on the continuation of forensic
probes into the tender.
Nombembe’s office, on the request of
former home affairs minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, originally
investigated the process that led to the awarding of the tender and
provided a report to her in February 2009.
subsequently handed the auditor general’s report to independent forensic
analyst Professor Harvey Wainer, who finalised his report in December
In early 2010 the contract was cancelled – partly because a
central feature of the tender, the processing of online visa applications,
was not ready in time for the Soccer World Cup tournament.
they decided to temporarily stop the investigation while negotiations
with Gijima got under way after the World Cup.
“But negotiations can’t mean that when you find irregularities in the process, you will put them under the carpet,” he said.
a settlement was reached, home affairs went back to Wainer, who advised
them to take the matter to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) or
police as he had no powers to subpoena.
At the same time
Madonsela received a complaint from a member of the public and requested
documentation on the matter from home affairs. She was provided with
the auditor general and Wainer’s reports.
“We can’t go to the
SIU or police while the public protector is investigating. Let’s wait
for the public protector to investigate the matter and come back to us,”
The auditor general’s report, of which City Press has obtained a copy, confirms Apleni’s views that the contracting process
Noseweek first revealed that the report, marked
“strictly confidential”, identified several flaws in the tendering
process administered by Sita for home affairs. Thirteen of 27 prescripts
evaluated by the auditor general were not complied with.
included that no business agreement existed to clarify the roles and
responsibilities of parties; one of Gijima’s sub-contractors submitted
an invalid tax clearance certificate and a competitor, Ideco, scored
the highest points for the first part of the evaluation but was not
recommended due to incomplete pricing information. Gijima also
submitted pricing information that was incomplete.
auditor general also noted Bogoshi’s jump from Sita to Gijima nine
months after serving on the committee that recommended Gijima for the
- City Press