The Department of Public Works (DPW) says there is nothing irregular about the lease agreement for the Pretoria building that the South African Police Services (SAPS) headquarters is expected to move to.
The DPW in a statement sought to refute allegations in the Sunday newspaper that national police commissioner General Bheki Cele flouted regulations by signing a deal worth hundreds of millions of Rand to move police to the new building without the deal going out to tender.
In the statement the department said the Sunday Times report was “driven by expediency of deadlines than the professional credo to reflect all the sides to the argument [sic]”. It added line departments, including the police, did not sign leases with landlords. “…this is the mandate of the DPW as the landlord of the state, so it was inaccurate to imply that General Cele signed a lease with anyone,” the statement said.
Cele, as the Accounting Officer responsible, signed an accommodation needs assessment of the SAPS for the DPW’s implementation, the department added. “Client department’s responsibilities are to sign needs assessments as well as funding certificates confirming the availability of funding for their needs. This authorises the DPW to start the process of procurement,” the statement continued.
The department said no procurement processes were flouted even though no tenders were awarded. The approach followed by the department was a “negotiated approach”, which was completely legal.
“This means that the DPW received urgent needs from the SAPS in this instance, after which it became key that DPW approaches this in a negotiated fashion as provided by the relevant supply chain management prescripts of government. The issue of other bidders therefore falls away,” the statement read.
As a growing service, the police needed additional accommodation and it was for this reason that the DPW had acquired the Middestad Sanlam Centre in the Pretoria Central Business District as an addition to the Wachthuis building, where the police is currently housed, DPW added.
“According to a signed lease agreement, the client was expected to occupy the additional Pretoria space anytime as from the 1 November 2010, essentially meaning that both leases (i.e for Wachthuis & Middestad) will run concurrently at market-related rental,” the department said.