The South African Police Service (SAPS) has cancelled a tender for less lethal ammunition with IT Empowerment Technologies after it was alleged the police were paying five times what they should have for the ammunition.
According to the Government Tender Bulletin, Mustek Security Technologies, trading as IT Empowerment Technologies, was awarded a three-year contract to supply and deliver soft silicone 12 gauge shotgun cartridges for the SAPS at a cost of R1 889 per box of 25 rounds.
The tender was awarded in July this year and was worth R30.5 million. IT Empowerment Technologies beat local companies Industrial Cartridge, ECM Technologies and Compliance & Security Advisory Service (CSAC) for the contract.
One of the losing bidders quoted R340 per box of 25, making its bid one fifth of the cost of IT Empowerment Technologies’.
According to its website, Mustek is one of the largest assemblers and distributors of personal computers and complementary ICT products in South Africa while IT Empowerment says it specialises in the ICT sector. As Mustek/ICT Empowerment do not appear to have any defence or security experience, CSAC was approached to be a subcontractor on the contract.
After concerns were raised, the tender was subsequently cancelled. Brigadier Johann Smit, dealing with Supply Chain Management and Contract Management at the SA Police Service, on 22 September stated that “the contract between IT Empowerment and the SAPS has been cancelled.”
It is not year whether the SAPS will re-tender or select the next lowest bidder.
The other companies bidding for the tender said they would like to know how the SAPS selected IT Empowerment Technologies in the first place and called for people to be held accountable for the malfeasance resulting from the awarding of the contract.
CSAS has asked National Treasury to investigate the matter “and bring those responsible to account” so they can be “restricted from doing business with our government.”
According to Sibusiso Nene, Deputy Director Supply Chain Management Governance, Monitoring and Compliance at National Treasury, the tender is currently being investigated by the Hawks.