Police to probe riot gear acquisition

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Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa says he has launched an investigation into a R112 million contract for riot control equipment acquired for the 2010 FIFA World Cup that had been awarded by the South African Police Service (SAPS) without going to tender.

Mthethwa made the announcement in a statement this morning after submitting an answer on the matter to Parliament in response to a question. “I am currently engaging with National Treasury regarding this specific contract and matters related to it. Once this engagement is completed, I will report back to Parliament regarding this particular tender and steps, if necessary, that need to be taken regarding this contract,” he said in the statement.

The minster added that no member of the SAPS was beyond reproach when it comes to administering public finances, no matter the amount. He added that he expected sound management, accountability, professionalism and excellence at all times, whether it be administration of funds or managing a police station.
defenceWeb reported in December 2008 that the police service budgeted R1.3 billion to safeguard the June 2009 Confederation Cup and 2010 Soccer World Cup. Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo said at the time some R660 million would be used to pay for new equipment and R640 million for deployment.

Advanced technologies procured included a R2.7 million bomb disposal robot and bomb disposal suits that cost R400 000 per suit. Also bought was six Robinson R44 Raven II light helicopters, 10 Israeli water cannon, mobile command vehicles, 300 mobile cameras, 54 BMW patrol vehicles and French body armour. It appears the latter has now attracted Mthethwa’s attention.



Pic: Police in French “robocop” riot control gear pictured in April 2010.