Mon, 30 Nov 2020

Gauteng Finance and e-Government MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has "noted with concern the media reports about the alleged irregularities into the appointment of the service provider for the Security Operations Centre (SOC)".

According to a City Press report, the Gauteng government has been accused of using the cover of the novel coronavirus to rush through a big information technology (IT) contract without proper tender processes.

The R30 million contract to provide Gauteng's e-government department with IT services, including cybersecurity, was reportedly concluded within 24 hours.

According to the report, Nkomo-Ralehoko requested permission from Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to deviate from normal procurement processes.

The contract was reportedly won by In2IT Technologies, the sponsor of popular football side Moroka Swallows. According to City Press, the award has outraged other service providers who have questioned the process.

In addition, the matter has been elevated to the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa after a whistleblower wrote a letter of complaint.

READ | Outrage over Gauteng's 24-hour, R30m express tender

In a statement on Sunday, Nkomo-Ralehoko said she decided to initiate an investigation into the allegations and provide a full report to all stakeholders.

"The SOC significantly contributes to the detection, analysis and incident management of cybersecurity activities within the province," Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

"SOC is a critical and necessary solution for [the Gauteng government] to be protected from cybersecurity threats and malicious activities."

The MEC said the company Gauteng Security Operation Centre (GSOC) and its predecessor had been providing cybersecurity services for the past 16 years.

"The first initial appointment was for a period of three years which commenced on 1 May 2005 to 31 May 2008 - the bid was awarded to Lefatshe Technologies. The scope of work expanded for a period...from 20 November 2008 to 20 November 2011.

"The contract was extended for another five years from the 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2016. Thereafter, Lefatshe Technologies changed its name to G-SOC Services in 2017; from here on, the contract [was extended] on a month-to-month [basis] until its termination.

Irregular expenditure

"In the 2016/17 financial year, the Auditor-General's (AG) departmental findings stated that the Security Operation Centre (SOC) contract and all extensions after the contract expired in March 2016 were declared as irregular expenditure.

"The SOC irregular expenditure was also raised by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Finance Oversight Committee and Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa)," Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

She added that even after the AG's findings, the department continued with the irregular expenditure on a month-to-month basis until the contract was terminated.

"It was also established through the Basic Accounting System, which is linked online to the Centralised Supplier Database, that the service provider is not tax-compliant."

Nkomo-Ralehoko said that, as a custodian of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) in Gauteng, she is committed to ensure that proper administrative and financial accountability are adhered to by departments and urged all her counterparts to act against irregular expenditure. She further urged all service providers doing business with the Gauteng government to adhere to all legislated requirements.

In line with her mandate to enforce clean audits in all departments, Nkomo-Ralehoko said she supported measures being put in place to reduce irregular expenditure in the Department of e-Government.

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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