SA Police Service Terrestrial Trunked Radio, Property Control & Exhibit Management projects

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20 June 2012
Chairperson: Ms A van Wyk (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

In the first part of the meeting, a delegation from the management of South African Police Services (SAPS) management gave a presentation on the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) digital radio programme. This was initiated in 2004, after a bid in Gauteng, at a cost of R591.9 million, and the system was switched on in October 2007. It was used to track vehicles and persons, and to convey confidential information to multiple users. It was shared with other public safety entities. There were 67 high sites in Gauteng. 12 people had been trained, but five had since resigned. In May 2012 a bid was published more advanced support and training. There was a problem in Eastern Cape, since the analogue system currently in use was incompatible with the TETRA system, and a contract to implement TETRA in this province was signed in 2008. There was provision for training, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) was also participating.

The Committee raised several issues that were not outlined in the presentation. In the first place, Members were alarmed that the current analogue system in Eastern Cape, which was still in use, was not being maintained, apparently for lack of funding, yet SAPS had embarked on such an expensive migration from analogue to digital in both the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. This was also against the advice of SAPS’s Chief Financial Officer, who warned that it did not seem to give value for money.  There were serious questions as to whether TETRA was the best and most cost-effective solution for the country, whether other systems were available, why the problems in Gauteng were not taken into account prior to deciding to implement in Eastern Cape, and why supply chain management issues were still ongoing. The Committee said it  was clear that SAPS had not gone about migration the best way, and was very concerned that the contracts failed to take account of maintenance, and showed poor checking by Legal Services. The Committee would be asking the Minister to report on  TETRA equipment that was still in France. The SAPS was asked to provide more information on the bid committee, the phased approach, the 11 missing contracts, previous bids; and royalty cuts. The Committee needed to know who had paid for the set-up at the university, who was benefitting from it, whether that was where SAPS staff would be trained, how much it would cost; and whether the use of the system during the World Cup, which was also questioned extensively, incurred costs. The Committee still wanted to know where SAPS stood in relation to the implementation of TETRA, the total costs to date, the value of the added services and their costs, and the prices of competitive bids. The Committee also wanted a national plan for roll-out of the TETRA system, and recommended to the National Commissioner that she should consider maintaining the analogue system until the universal system was in place. The Committee also recommended that the Department’s Legal Services be reviewed, given the apparent negligence in the drafting of the contract, which appeared to favour the service provider, an issue raised previously with SAPS.

In the second part of the meeting, SAPS briefed the Committee on the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM) project. The project was said to have a total cost of R183 million, but Committee Members established that it was much more, because the contract had a Schedule D allowing additional goods and services to be purchased from the same service provider, apparently in contravention of National Treasury regulations. Many of those additional costs were seemingly unrelated to the PCEM project, whilst other costs that were justifiable, such as court expenditure, was not debited. The Committee was very unhappy that the SAPS appeared to have been misleading it for so long about the real costs, as well as that ring-fenced funding was used for other purposes. Members questioned the fact that the company awarded the contract was owned by a former SAPS member, that there was an attempt between SAPS and State Information Technology Agency to pass the blame from one to the other, that there was incorrect and conflicting membership on the bid committee, and once again the contract was badly drawn, in favour of the company and to the detriment of SAPS. The Committee disputed that good value was received, asking where the police stations were that were supposed to be built. Members also asked a number of questions also as to who had signed the contract, and quoted from correspondence and reports in its possession that contradicted answers being given. The meeting was brought to a halt, and SAPS was asked to provide written answers to those questions that were left unanswered.

The National Commissioner undertook to perform an investigation into the some of the issues that had been raised in the meeting. The Chairperson confirmed it was in favour of an audit, provided it was external, and involved the Auditor–General. SAPS management dealing with the matter were not new, and the Committee had to know where the ultimate responsibilities lay. The Chairperson urged the new National Commissioner to ensure that those guilty of any wrongdoing would not, as in the past, be permitted to take Section 35 discharges, and to lay criminal charges. Lieutenant-General Mofomme was asked to respond to unanswered questions by Friday, 29 June, and any information uncovered on PCEM must be conveyed immediately to the Committee.

Meeting report

Terrestrial Trunked Radio Communications: South African Police Service briefing
The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from the South African Police Service (SAPS), headed by the new National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega.
Major-General Nonkululeko Mbatha, Corporate Communications, SAPS, took the Committee through the part of the presentation dealing with Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) communications and future wireless technologies. SAPS had an operational need for radio coverage over the total surface of South Africa. Radio communications had to meet its operational requirements, and one standard should be applied nationally.

The Low Band Simplex system that had been used until the late 1970s had been a nationally standardised radio system. SAPS had a number of licenses with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The two main digital standards for trunked radio communication were TETRA and TETRAPOL, and, after a Gauteng bid was published for both, TETRA was selected as the standard. In 2004, a contract was awarded to Alcom Matomo for a Motorola solution, at a cost of R540 million. The final price, including variation orders, came to R591.9 million. The system was completed and switched on in October 2007. There were now 67 high sites covering Gauteng. The TETRA system was used to track both vehicles and persons. In line with the contract, 12 SAPS technical staff were trained in how to operate the technological solution, but some had since left the SAPS, as their new high level skills were in demand elsewhere. There were 35 000 users on the Gauteng TETRA network. Basic maintenance was currently being done in-house, and a maintenance contract was planned.

In May 2012, SAPS published a bid for more advanced support and training. The TETRA network was currently being shared with other public safety entities, including the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which was completely dependent on SAPS, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the Gauteng Provincial Government, and the Metro Police in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane. The Metro Police bought their own equipment, but used the SAPS infrastructure.

In the Eastern Cape, the amalgamation of the former Ciskei and Transkei with the former South African Police had resulted in different, obsolete and incompatible analogue systems. Radio communications requirements in that province were urgent. In 2007, a bid was published for a TETRA solution in the Eastern Cape. In 2008, a contract was awarded to Integcomm for an EADS TETRA solution, at a value of R920 million. The contract made provision for the establishment of 212 high sites and three 10111 control centres, to cover the province. To date, 14 high sites had been completed in and around Port Elizabeth, and 22 more high sites were currently under construction. The East London 10111 centre had been completed, the building of the Korsten 10111 centre would be completed by October 2012, and the Mthatha building was at an early stage of construction. A maintenance contract would be established when required, near the date of system completion.

The contract also made provision for the training of SAPS technicians, in order to cover the stringent training requirements needed to operate the technology. 30 SAPS members would be trained 12 months before the contract expired. SAPS would also conduct in-service training. The TETRA Academy at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) was the result of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Industrial Participation Programme. The training capacity belonged to NMMU and would be made available to all of its students. Further training could be provided at NMMU after the expiry of the contract, if necessary.

The TETRA technology had a number of benefits, in that it could communicate to many listeners at once, as opposed to phone technologies that were designed for one-to-one communication. It was developed to have multiple fall-back capabilities, which meant that if one link went down, the system would not fail. For voice communications, TETRA made confidential one-to-one communication possible. One-to-many confidential communications could be initiated within a fraction of a second, and one call could be made to over 1 000 listeners. TETRA also provided for encrypted voice communications and could direct short-range communications without any infrastructure. In basic data communications, TETRA allowed text messages to be sent through the system. It also provided a multiple talk group operation, by which different government agencies could communicate, thereby facilitating effective joint operations with the Metro Police, fire departments, South African National Defence Force (SANDF), intelligence services, and ambulance services.

When compared to other technologies, TETRA provided an open standard for interfaces, multiple vendors for TETRA terminals. It had the widest set of public safety facilities, and was the most widely accepted public safety standard used internationally. By using TETRA, SAPS could benefit from application developments as they took place internationally.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) said that the Committee had heard that there had been some problems in the contract with Motorola.

Mr Ndlovu asked about the SAPS members who had been trained and subsequently left, and whether the “industrial participation” mentioned in the presentation would fill the resultant gap. He wondered if, given that only 12 people had been trained, this was a gain or a loss to the SAPS. He noted the comment on NIA’s “complete dependence on SAPS” in Gauteng, and asked whether there had been any collaboration or input on the contract by the other government bodies who were involved.

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked what the cost implications would be if SAPS were to move from leased properties to using property that it owned. She asked whether there were any options to purchase any of the 106 sites when the lease periods ended. She also asked why there were such big differences in the relative sizes of the different sites.

Ms Molebatsi questioned the basis of the Altech court challenge, whether it had been concluded and, if so, the outcome.

Ms Molebatsi asked for clarity on the status of the three 10111 centres in the Eastern Cape, noting that only R9.1 million had been spent on the Mthatha centre to date.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked for a figure expressing the total value of the TETRA contract, and noted that the expense as set out in the initial contract could increase exponentially because of delays. The contract itself was questionable, as it purported to be open-ended, but that was not possible. She was of the view that there had been massive expenditure to date on the TETRA system, “for virtually no return.” The analogue system could have worked for a few more years, as long as it was maintained. In the Eastern Cape, the analogue system had to be maintained in any event, until TETRA was rolled out. She asked what SAPS planned to do about maintenance, commenting that it seemed that it was  deliberately allowing the maintenance of the existing system to be scaled down, and cautioning that this could reach the point where SAPS was unable to communicate. Cellphones were not always practical, since there was not reception in all areas of Eastern Cape.

Ms Kohler-Barnard thought the contract flawed on a number of levels. She questioned how SAPS could have “simply forgotten” to make provision for a maintenance contract, asked who drew up the contract, who had been responsible for entering into it, and what consequences ensued for this omission.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for the exact date for roll-out of the system, and where the plan was, remarking that the Committee had never seen a plan.

Ms Kohler-Barnard echoed Ms Molebatsi’s comment why SAPS had chosen to lease sites instead of purchasing them. She asked whether the properties were leased by SAPS or by the Department of Public Works (DPW) – if it was the latter, this was already problematic.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the system in the Eastern Cape seemed to be set up specifically for the purposes of the 2010 World Cup, and asked whether that was because the existing system had been dysfunctional, or for another reason. If the previous system had not been working well, and the new system was a satisfactory replacement, then she wondered why it would again be altered. She commented that the proviso requiring the system to be shut off after the World Cup was “bizarre”, and asked how this was included in the contract. If TETRA was rolled out in 2010, to protect tourists during the World Cup, but was then closed down, this implied that SAPS did not seen the protection of Eastern Cape residents as important as the tourists. She asked whether the “enormous cost” was justified in a province that already had a working radio network, but in which some police stations had no running water, toilets or electricity.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked what other systems were being used globally, besides TETRA, and whether there were other possibilities. She asked if there was the danger, given the rate of advancement, that the five-year contract could result in obsolete equipment being dumped in South Africa. She wanted to know how many bids had been received in total, from whom they emanated, and what other options there were.

Mr M George (COPE) wondered why Lieutenant-General Mofomme had not presented the information about TETRA to the Committee. He felt that the presentation was oblique, and it required Members to read between the lines.

Mr George noted the comment that “one standard should be applied nationally”, and asked how this related to all the provinces. He asked whether the intention was to use TETRA in every province, and, if so, whether the costs of doing so had been considered. If TETRA were only to be rolled out in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, this would be in contradiction with the “one standard” rationale. He asked whether there was a proper plan in place, complete with costing considerations.

Mr George noted that 12 SAPS staff had been trained on maintenance in Gauteng, but some had left, and asked what this implied for the Gauteng system. He also wanted to know why no provision had been made for a maintenance contract at an earlier stage, and how much a maintenance contract would cost in the context of the Eastern Cape, saying that there were many hidden costs.

Mr George questions if any of the 13 SAPS members who were to operate the system in Eastern Cape had been trained already. He also wanted to know who had operated TETRA during the World Cup, as if it was SAPS members, this suggested that no further training was necessary. , and if it had been operated by SAPS members, why people would still need to be trained.

Mr E Mlambo (ANC) asked whether TETRA would be rolled out to other provinces.

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) asked what SAPS was doing in relation to communication technology in KwaZulu-Natal. She asked whether all of the amounts spent on leases were in line with the amounts budgeted. She also wanted to know whether all of the Eastern Cape sites had been completed.

The Chairperson said that the problem with TETRA in the Eastern Cape was that it appeared that SAPS had learned nothing from the Gauteng experience, about which the Auditor-General (AG) had raised concerns. She too commented that SAPS had proceeded to publish a contract without making provision for maintenance, for the same system in the Eastern Cape. She shared concerns of other Members why it was considered so urgent to switch the system on in the Eastern Cape in time for the 2010 World Cup, if the province already had working radio systems, and how this had influenced the contract. She asked why SAPS had decided that the system had to be fully rolled-out before it could be implemented. She agreed that there was a danger of the technology becoming obsolete, and she shared concerns as to whether there were other options, and why there was such insistence on going ahead with TETRA in Eastern Cape.
The Chairperson referred to the indication that other government departments would use TETRA, and asked what negotiations had taken place with those departments, if any, whether those departments were carrying any part of the costs, and, if so, how much.

The Chairperson enquired who had been on the bid committee, what had become of the TETRA equipment that had been in France, and whether the problems in relation to the Port Elizabeth 10111 centre had been solved. If not, then she wanted to hear of any other  contingency plan and the cost. She asked what the final cost would be for the building in Port Elizabeth. She asked what the R5.2 million had been spent on in Mthatha, and what was the final cost of the East London 10111 centre would be.  

The Chairperson asked if SAPS had ensured that environmental impact assessments had been done and cleared for all high sites, as required by law.

The Chairperson noted that certain value-added services could be included as an option. She asked whether SAPS had decided to proceed with those services, and, if so, the cost implications. She wondered if, given the statement that SAPS needed a standardised system for the entire country, if SAPS intended to roll out the TETRA system, and what the cost of this would be. She reiterated, like other members, that the analogue systems would still have to be maintained until new systems were in place, and also was concerned at the apparent decision simply to let the analogue system collapse.

The Chairperson asked when the one-year guarantee, as mentioned in the contract, would kick in, and how it been affected by the switch-on during the World Cup. She asked why there had not been an urgent need to replace existing systems in other provinces, like Limpopo and North West, during the World Cup.

The Chairperson reiterated questions of other Members on the outcome of the Altech court case, expenditure, and projected expenditure to the end of the contract.

The Chairperson enquired who had written the specifications for the TETRA contract, and asked for further comment upon the allegation that the tender had been advertised without specifications, and what the reason was for the deviation.

Lieutenant-General Audrey Mofomme, Deputy National Commissioner: Physical Resource Management, SAPS,
 responded that she had not given the presentation because Major-General Mbatha had more technical knowledge.

Dr Mofomme explained that in the Altech matter, Altech had sued SAPS when the contract was awarded to another party, and the court had ruled in favour of SAPS, and set the application aside with costs.

Dr Mofomme responded to questions around the single standard approach, by explaining that SAPS wanted to move forward digitally with the rest of the world. After TETRA had been established in Gauteng, SAPS management had taken the decision to go to the TETRA route in the Eastern Cape, and to then proceed with the rest of the provinces, one by one. General Phiyega had recently instructed SAPS management to go back and do a cost-benefit analysis in order to determine whether SAPS should follow the TETRA route, and how much it would cost, and this research had started.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked whether this meant that no cost-benefit analysis had taken place before the TETRA contract was entered into, and if so, how that could have happened.

The Chairperson said that it should not be the case that the SAPS spent over R1 billion to implement TETRA in one province, and then decide to go the TETRA route nationally. After the Gauteng experience, SAPS had made exactly the same mistakes in the Eastern Cape. The TETRA contract in Gauteng had caused an embarrassment to the President, being reported on the hotline, and she wondered how it was possible to opt to spend another R1 billion in Eastern Cape, without taking the previous experience into account.

A senior SAPS member replied that in Gauteng, SAPS had looked to solutions, and a decision was already taken, by the time the Eastern Cape decision was taken, to roll out TETRA nation-wide. SAPS would, however, be undertaking a cost-benefit analysis.

The Chairperson expressed surprise that despite the Gauteng experience, SAPS management had not undertaken a cost-benefit analysis until instructed to do so by the new National Commissioner.

Mr Ndlovu asked what would happen to money already spent if a decision was taken to start the process again.

Ms Kohler-Barnard would like to believe that SAPS had a standard operating procedure to guide it when entering into any large-scale plan, but this TETRA operation seemed not to have been properly planned.

General Solomon Ngubane: Divisional Communications Technology Manager, SAPS, conceded that some poor decisions had been made. When SAPS first embarked on its study, TETRA had been the “premium standard”, but there were now other options. One alternative option was of better quality and cost than TETRA, but this must be weighed up against the benefit of establishing uniform systems throughout, and this would be determined by the findings of the cost-benefit analysis.

The Chairperson said that the same questions had been asked of SAPS’s supply chain management officials in 2008, and at least two senior members had, at that time, said that there were no options other than TETRA. She wondered whether that was true, given the confirmation now that there were other competitive solutions. She reminded the team that lying to the Committee was a punishable offence.

General Ngubane replied that the one alternative solution, CDMA, had been evolving, but had not yet reached the point, in 2004, where it was sustainable. In 2008, the European Union Standards Institute had accepted TETRA, and CDMA was still not yet an option. There was also no inter-operability between CDMA and TETRA.

The Chairperson asked whether there was any system that could be integrated with TETRA.

General Ngubane replied that if SAPS were to forego the objective of integration with TETRA, then another system could be implemented, and that was one of the main issues that had to be addressed by the cost-benefit analysis.

The Chairperson said that the 2008 decision to implement TETRA in the Eastern Cape seemed to have been influenced by the fact that TETRA was already in Gauteng, and a decision had been taken to implement TETRA throughout the country.

Mr Ndlovu said that the main motivation was to ensure inter-operability. He questioned  whether, in the event that an alternative solution was used, if Gauteng and the Eastern Cape would not be a part of the national integration.

General Ngubane replied that the cost of another solution might be so low that it would make sense to go with that solution instead of with TETRA. TETRA had migration capability. The inter-operability issue would fall away within five to ten years’ time. Presently, it was agreed that TETRA and its accompanying infrastructure was expensive, but the less expensive options were not as favourable for inter-operability purposes. In 2008, the motivation of SAPS management was probably to keep TETRA as the standard. There was a memorandum of understanding with the other organisations that would be involved.

Brigadier Gordon Bosman, Head: Network Infrastructure Management, SAPS, said that SAPS had started the process of sharing its radio capabilities with other government entities, and there was agreement with SAPS Legal Services to determine which entities would pay what amounts.

The Chairperson took issue with the statement that there was in fact a memorandum of understanding that dealt with cost-sharing, and said that if this existed, it should be delivered before the end of the meeting. She asked what still needed to be negotiated, if the technology was to be shared with others.

Mr D Stubbe (DA) noted the listing of other government entities who were sharing the technology, and asked what the cost of that sharing was.

General Ngubane replied that, currently, SAPS was not charging other entities for their use of the equipment. SAPS had asked the National Treasury for guidance as to how stakeholders could contribute as the technology was rolled out.

The Chairperson asked whether the Memorandum of Understanding included information pertaining to cost issues.

General Ngubane replied that it did not.

General Ngubane said that the Department would supply the Committee with information pertaining to how many other bids there had been and their value.

The Chairperson insisted that this information should be provided immediately.

Mr George added that the SAPS delegation knew that it was to present on TETRA and should have come prepared with all relevant information.

General Ngubane answered the questions around the justification for costs in the Eastern Cape. SAPS management had decided that the age of the analogue system in that province made it costly to maintain, and Motorola no longer maintained that equipment. SAPS management had decided to go with the TETRA solution to address the Eastern Cape’s problem. There had been a competitive bidding process, and at that time, the TETRA bid was considered to be competitive. He was not aware of an escalation to the amount of R920 million, as mentioned earlier by one of the Committee members. He explained that five out of the 12 people originally trained in the United Kingdom left SAPS, and although SAPS could handle maintenance, it could not manage any upgrade of the system.

Ms Kohler-Barnard clarified that the figure she had mentioned referred to costs additional to the R920 million. That amount included “value-added services”, including the 10111 centres. The costs all seemed to be conflated, and growing exponentially, and it was not possible for SAPS to brush aside the figures so lightly.

Mr Ndlovu said that the answers being given by SAPS raised yet more questions, and it was for this reason that Members appeared to be so insistent on answers, as they did not want to lose the opportunity to understand the answers fully.

The Chairperson appealed to SAPS to be open and honest in its answers. She had a 43-page document with far more detail than the 16-page slide show, so the Committee had investigated the issues, already knew of the problems, and SAPS must help the Committee to move forward.

General Ngubane undertook to provide accurate information. He answered Ms Kohler-Barnard by saying that the additional services meant that every police vehicle or person with a TETRA radio could be tracked. Some lessons from Gauteng had not been taken aboard, including the maintenance contract. General Phiyega had noticed that contract management was a weak area, and he acknowledged the loopholes in the contract.

The Chairperson asked who had drawn up the contract.

Brigadier Bosman mentioned a Mr Botha, who had resigned two years previously and moved to Australia. The Gauteng contract had been drawn up by another specialist, who had also resigned and left the service. They were both technical experts.

The Chairperson asked how a contract could be drawn up by a technical expert and not a legal expert.

General Ngubane replied that this was their area of competence. Mr Willem Songh, who drafted the Eastern Cape contract, was now in Gauteng.

The Chairperson again questioned the logic of using technical experts to draw up a legal document.

General Ngubane said that SAPS technical experts drew up specifications and then submitted this document to Legal Services, but the technical staff remained responsible for technical issues.

Ms Kohler-Barnard pointed out that none of the loose ends had been addressed, and said could not believe what she was hearing.

The Chairperson told the SAPS delegation not to adapt their answers, and again appealed to get the truth. If the contracts had been drawn up by technical people, then this was an issue to be addressed in future.

General Phiyega explained that once a contract had been awarded according to specifications, a standard contract was then sent to Legal Services for review, and perhaps that process must be reconsidered.

The Chairperson asked what had happened at the time that the TETRA contracts were signed.

General Phiyega replied that the same process had been followed.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that surely a standard contract would always include a provision for maintenance.

The Chairperson added that this was not the first time the Committee had identified that there was a problem with SAPS contracts.

Brigadier Bosman explained the choice of sites. SAPS management made a decision informed by the technology that depicted the availability of the best high sites, so tower sites were not just selected at random. When the radio study was completed, the tower was erected. In KwaZulu-Natal and Newcastle, SAPS had been informed by the science before choosing the site. The determinations around rentals were made by Department of Public Works (DPW), and whilst SAPS would have liked to purchase the sites in which it was interested, it was not given a choice. SAPS only granted permission after DPW had reviewed the application. The environmental impact assessment formed part of the information that SAPS had to provide to DPW. He noted that it was crucial for SAPS to construct the high sites, and the ideal would be to have the land owned permanently by SAPS. He added that in Gauteng, there had been four lease bids, by Motorola, Nokia-Siemens, and two others. In the Eastern Cape, Nokia-Siemens and four other companies submitted bids to handle the entire TETRA process in that province.

Ms Kohler-Barnard requested the SAPS to send that information to the Committee.

The Chairperson added that any information that had not been provided during the meeting should be sent to the Committee. The Committee wanted to see the amount of the bid from each bidding company.

Brigadier Bosman then went on to explain inter-operability issues, confirming that it was difficult to integrate TETRA with other standards, and in 2008, there had been no other standard that could be integrated with TETRA. The public safety entities were totally different from the commercial world. In a hostage situation, information had to be relayed to all of the members that were deployed. If a different mode of communication was used, delays caused by voice latency could result in people being killed. SAPS did not want to compromise on voice latency, because it could mean peoples’ lives.

The Chairperson said that there was no need for the SAPS to try to promote TETRA to the Committee. She asked SAPS to indicate whether the Gauteng and the Eastern Cape TETRA systems were fully integrated with each other. If the exclusion of a 15-second delay justified the cost, surely it should not take SAPS 40 minutes to get to the scene of a crime.

Brigadier Bosman replied that when the Gauteng system was completed, complete integration would be possible.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked whether the difference in encryption technology between the two provinces had now been resolved.

Brigadier Bosman replied in the affirmative, and said that the reason that SAPS wanted the Eastern Cape to operate on the same standard as Gauteng was that the radios should be able to communicate nationwide.

The Chairperson said that TETRA in Gauteng used a lower frequency than TETRA in the Eastern Cape, and that the Committee was told that the Eastern Cape frequency was the preferred one, therefore wondered why the decision was made to follow the Gauteng frequency instead.

Brigadier Bosman replied that there were two different standards. SAPS had tried to address the issue, with the provider, and had decided to make the Gauteng system compatible with that operating in the Eastern Cape, and to connect the provinces.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked how, in a multi-million rand contract drawn up to technical specifications, such a mistake could happen, when the programme was being run nationally.

The Chairperson said that this state of affairs was illustrative of the Committee’s problem with the SAPS and its management. That so-called mistake had cost R13.2 million. She asked who was responsible for the mistake, and what the consequences had been, saying that everyone in the country ended up contributing to the costs of that mistake.

Mr Stubbe asked whether the two different frequencies could speak to each other.

Brigadier Bosman answered that they shared the same standard, and that the TETRA standard complied. He had been referring to a different issue, namely, the level of encryption, which spoke to security issues. That was a different matter from the frequency. When TETRA had been established in the Eastern Cape, it had a different level of encryption. The SAPS had found a solution for better inter-operability.

The Chairperson stated that it still cost the taxpayer.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that earlier, Brigadier Bosman had spoken about TA1 and TA2, but subsequently there had been mention of TA3. She asked which was finally chosen.

Brigadier Bosman explained that TA3 was the latest version. In order to create compatibility between the two systems, they had to be on the same encryption level. TA3 could easily adapt to TA1. SAPS planned to have TA3 operating, with the Eastern Cape as the only province operating on TA1.

The Chairperson said that the contract should have specified that a radio on the same encryption be provided for both the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

The National Commissioner addressed the matter of outsourcing, and said that SAPS management had decided to employ full-time technicians and mechanics, and that it would only outsource the jobs that those employees were not able to do. There had been efforts to put maintenance in place at Gauteng, but Motorola’s quote had not been approved, as it charged a flat rate, rather than for piece-work.

The Chairperson asked whether the SAPS technicians had been trained to do the maintenance required, and whether SAPS knew what those technicians could do.

General Phiyega replied that whenever work had to be done for which SAPS technicians did not have the necessary skills, that work would be outsourced. Twelve staff members in Gauteng had been trained as part of the contract, but five later resigned.

Brigadier Bosman added that new recruits had now been brought in for training.

The Chairperson asked, and received confirmation, that the seven staff members who had received training were the ones training those new recruits.

Brigadier Bosman said that there was a training college at which those recruits were trained on a daily basis by those who had already received training.

The Chairperson asked what was contained in the bid for the Gauteng setting.

Mr George repeated his earlier question as to why maintenance had not been included in the original contract.

The Chairperson said that it was clear that the original contract was inadequate, and SAPS had conceded that point. Even if a maintenance contract could not be provided for in terms of the existing contract, the Committee needed to know exactly what was provided for in Eastern Cape and Gauteng contracts.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme explained some of the problems in Port Elizabeth (PE), saying that there were graves found where SAPS wanted to build the high site, and so the site was changed to the PE 10111 centre. She gave the status of the progress of building the various 10111 centres in the Eastern Cape, which were being built by the Department of Public Works. The costs of constructing the buildings had not been included in the original TETRA quote.

The Chairperson asked what the projected cost was for the completion of both the PE and Mthatha buildings.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme said that there had been a R175 million budget for the PE building, but that she did not have the projected costs.

Ms Kohler-Barnard questioned why there was no projected cost.

The Chairperson said that she was “seriously concerned” about the figure of R175 million that had just been raised. In previous correspondence with the Committee, the figure had been placed at R100 million. She asked where the additional R75 million had come from.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme replied that that information would be provided to the Committee.

The Chairperson made reference to the 10111 centre in the Eastern Cape that was 90% completed, and asked why, if it was that close to completion, an amount of R55 million still needed to be spent.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme said that she did not know off-hand what the remaining 10% was expected to cost.

The Chairperson asked why it had been budgeted at an amount of R175 million, and said  there was a huge discrepancy between R100 million and R175 million.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme said that the requested information would be provided to the Committee. The Department of Public Works entered into leases for all high sites and buildings on behalf of SAPS. SAPS had sent a request to DPW to negotiate the purchase of high sites instead of continual leasing, and had not yet received a response. The equipment was still in France, and had not yet been shipped to South Africa.

The Chairperson asked why there was a delay. The Committee had been told that the equipment would be brought to South Africa in early 2012.

Mr Ndlovu said that the equipment was supposed to be in place in March 2012.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme agreed that was what was supposed to happen. However, in order for the Department to undertake a trip outside of the country, that trip had to be approved by the Minister of Police, and in this case, the Minister had not approved the trip.

The Chairperson speculated that maybe the Minister had a problem with the fact that three trips had been taken to learn about crime prevention and yet no results were forthcoming. The Committee would ask the Minister what had happened.

Mr George said he could not believe that the Minister would deny a request for SAPS to go to France to fetch equipment that had already been paid for.

The Chairperson added that if the Minister had made such a decision, the Committee would need to know why.

Mr Ndlovu took umbrage at the fact that the Committee had been given a date on which the equipment would be in place, which had subsequently passed without anything happening. He thought that information was being presented that was not factual. With due respect, he did not believe the response about the Minister refusing to give permission.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Ndlovu, but said that the Committee would ask the Minister what had happened, and that he should be given the opportunity to answer for himself. The Committee had been told that a delegation from SAPS would travel to France in December 2011 to collect the equipment, and that had not happened.

An ANC member remarked that it appeared that the SAPS delegation was keeping quiet on difficult matters until they were forced to address them when the Committee members asked specific questions.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme said that SAPS management had agreed that a team would go to France in December 2011 to examine the equipment and bring it back to South Africa. The request to the Minister was made timeously, and when he did not approve the request, there was an attempt to change the date to March 2012.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme listed the names and positions of the people who had been on the tender committee.

The Chairperson asked who had been responsible for writing the specifications for the contract, and whether the company eventually granted the tender had contributed to this.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme replied that if that were the case, it would have been highly irregular, as a service provider was never allowed to contribute to the specifications of a tender. She would look into the matter.

The Chairperson asked for more information about the environmental impact assessment (EAI) requirements. She asked whether an EIA had been completed every time before building started at each of the sites, to which Brigadier Bosman replied that it had been. The Chairperson then read from a letter from the SAPS, dated in 2009 and signed by GM Bosman, which said that the environmental impact assessment had not yet been successfully concluded, but that building should continue and the IEA would be completed at a later stage.”

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that it seemed that the EIA results were being swept under the carpet at the PE site, and that the EIA requirement was not taken seriously.

The Chairperson added that she also had 2009 correspondence that showed that there had been problems with the public participation process, and that the community’s concerns were not properly addressed.

Brigadier Bosman said that the Committee had raised two separate issues. At the PE site, the IEA had determined that there were graves at the site where SAPS had planned to build. At the costing stage, the building had been approved, and so a mast was erected. However, SAPS could not construct without first getting approval. When the SAPS learned of the graves, it had engaged with the community.

The Chairperson remarked that it seemed as though SAPS treated the EIA requirement as a nuisance, despite the fact that SAPS should be showing respect for the law. She noted that the correspondence she had dealt with Erf Korsten.

Brigadier Bosman said that SAPS would look into the issue and report back to the Committee.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for an explanation about the links between TETRA and ADL, and whether TETRA would be used as a carrier for the existing ADL application.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for an explanation of the phrase “royalty cut”.  

Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted to know how many trips to France there were, and how many SAPS officials attended. She wondered if there were trips prior to December, and who had paid the expenses, as well as whether the trips had started before or after the bid had been awarded.

Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted more detail about the roll-out plan. TETRA would seemingly next be started in KwaZulu-Natal, and that national roll-out was planned to be completed within three years, but she questioned how this was possible if the Eastern Cape roll-out had not yet been completed. She asked whether SAPS had paid attention to the experiences of the Western Cape, particularly in the City of Cape Town. In the Western Cape, where there were over 10 000 external and internal users, the costs were being paid by the users, meaning that there was no cost to the taxpayer. In the Western Cape, hand-held radios were used to access the traffic database. In the Eastern Cape, SAPS was still in the process of building towers in communities that did not want them. She asked why the implementation of the TETRA system was so far behind in that province.

Ms Molebatsi asked what involvement the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) had in the TETRA project.

The Chairperson asked what the distance for short-range communications was.

The Chairperson questioned the inconsistency between a report, in November 2011, that 110 contracts of lease had been concluded in the Eastern Cape, and another in March 2012, about 99 leases. She asked what had happened to the other 11.

The Chairperson enquired about the effect of the switch-on during the World Cup was, and how it affected the service provider’s one-year guarantee. SAPS had indicated to the Committee that the service provider had advised against the switch-on.

The Chairperson said that in November 2011, SAPS had indicated that KwaZulu-Natal would be the next province in which TETRA would be rolled out. She asked whether the Committee could accept that the roll-out be placed on hold until such time as a proper study was conducted. If not, the Committee would make  a recommendation to that effect.

General Ngubane replied that SAPS had decided to do a phased roll-out. The principle was that once the supplier had handed over a portion of the network, that portion should be used.

The Chairperson countered that in November 2011, SAPS told the Committee that the whole system had to be rolled out before SAPS could use it. She asked what had caused the change.

Brigadier Bosman replied that the change in approach was the result of the Committee’s visit to the Eastern Cape in which the Committee members had asked why they had to wait until the entire system was ready, and the decision was then taken to adopt a phased approach.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that this was the first time she was hearing about the possibility of a phased approach. The Committee had been told that, according to the contract, nothing could be done until the five year period was complete. She asked whether the contractual terms were the reason that the equipment was packed up after the World Cup in the Eastern Cape.

The Chairperson said that it seemed that the decision to pursue a phased roll-out had been made after the Committee had visited the Eastern Cape. She told the National Commissioner that the type of behavior under discussion was behind SAPS’s complaints that the Committee attempted to micro-manage SAPS, because it clearly needed a full implementation plan.

Brigadier Bosman said that the phased approach still presented challenges. The contract needed to be reviewed, and SAPS was considering contractual issues that needed to be clearly defined before it could move to the phased approach.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked who had taken the decision to go with the five-year approach instead of the phased approach, and the Chairperson asked who had signed the contract. The latter pointed out that there was a difference between the Committee making a suggestion and giving an instruction. The Committee would not get involved in operational issues. Members wanted SAPS to take informed, well-researched decisions, instead of making decisions on the spur of the moment. The five-year period, as set out in the contract, seemed like a spur-of-the-moment decision. There was a concern that when something did not work out, the Committee would be blamed for having made a suggestion.

Mr Ndlovu agreed that there was no resolution by the Committee in relation to the topic being discussed. The Chairperson had said that the Committee would have to wait on the Department’s
implementation plan.

General Ngubane said that ADL-TETRA functionality was limited, and although it existed, it was not being used for the ADL solution that was currently had in place.

Brigadier Bosman answered that the high sites covered about 50 km. That was why in Gauteng there were 67 sites that covered the whole province, and in the Eastern Cape, there would be 212. This had to be compared to the 5 to 10km range that was reachable with different technologies.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked how many of the 212 Eastern Cape sites had been completed.

Brigadier Bosman replied that 14 were completed and 22 were under construction. That did not mean that the remainder were to start from scratch, as there were some existing sites that just needed to be upgraded. There were some delays as a result of third-party involvement. If the Department of Public Works did not give approval, construction could not take place at a given site.

The Chairperson said that the Committee required a full report on the state of the construction, how many sites would be upgraded, and how much it would cost. She asked why there was a discrepancy in the amount that the Committee had been quoted earlier.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme replied that SAPS would have to go and look for those documents.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that surely those records were on file.

The Chairperson agreed, and stressed that just as the Committee would research matters prior to them being presented, it expected the SAPS to do the same.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme said that the TETRA contract had been signed by the contract manager at supply chain management.

She was not aware of any trips to France prior to that of the team that had gone in December 2011.

The Chairperson asked that the Committee be provided with information about who went on the trips, for what purposes and at what cost.

Mr Ndlovu remarked that it seemed as though the Committee would need another full day for the briefing because of the quality of answers, and commented that there seemed to be lack of preparation. He commented that the Committee seemed more prepared than the SAPS.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that it was well known that there had been multiple trips to France, and she thought the Committee was being deliberately misled.

Mr George thought that the Department had not prepared for the meeting, and requested that SAPS go back and prepare properly.

The Chairperson said that the Committee may call SAPS back if the written answers were not satisfactory.

General Ngubane said that SITA was not involved in the TETRA contract, and that was a historical matter. He did not know what the “royalty cut” referred to. SAPS would submit a plan to the Committee regarding the Eastern Cape TETRA project. The next province to be addressed would be KwaZulu-Natal. SAPS was going back to the drawing board to decide whether TETRA was indeed the proper route to go. In the Western Cape, there had been meetings with the City of Cape Town to discuss possible collaboration, and there was a draft MOU that was still under consideration. The Western Cape system was very old, and no longer supported by Motorola.

The Chairperson said that the Western Cape system was eleven years old, and despite its age, was successful. She asked how it was possible for the Western Cape to run it more easily than the Eastern Cape.

Brigadier Bosman said during the World Cup, there had been a need to switch on the system to cover the whole area of the Eastern Cape. Everything had worked well at the time, but it was switched off afterwards because the original contractual agreement said it would only be switched on after five years.

The Chairperson replied that the Committee knew the history, but that it wanted to know what the impact had been.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked whether the switch-on had constituted a breach of the contract. She pointed out that SAPS said that it had been necessary to switch it on during the World Cup, and asked whether that meant that there had been no coverage before then.

Brigadier Bosman answered that the company had worked together with SAPS during the World Cup. The impact was minimal, because no extra funding was required for the World Cup, since only existing infrastructure was used.

The Chairperson reminded SAPS that it had told the Committee in November 2011 that the company had advised against switching the technology on during the World Cup. If the one-year guarantee on the number of handsets that had been used during the World Cup had been affected, then this was of impact.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that her question was not answered. She asked why SAPS had flouted the terms of the contract during the World Cup, and asked why the radios could not be used to fight crime after the World Cup.

The Chairperson said that she understood that the temporary switch-on was not a breach of the contract. The minutes of a previous meeting reflected a SAPS representative saying that the system was not the property of the SAPS, and was a solution, not a final SAPS system.

Brigadier Bosman agreed that the switch did not belong to SAPS, because that was still in France. During the World Cup, SAPS had used the switch belonging to the university. The switch was the only part of the equipment that did not belong to SAPS.

The Chairperson asked what the current situation was in the Eastern Cape.

Brigadier Bosman replied that the Eastern Cape was safe, and that there were working systems there besides the TETRA system. The existing analogue system had its problems, but it was being used until TETRA was up and running.

The Chairperson asked why SAPS had stopped maintaining the analogue system, given that it was the only remaining system. She also asked why it was so urgent for TERTA to be running in the Eastern Cape during the World Cup, but not in any other province.

General Ngubane replied that in the other provinces, there were still working systems, and the matter boiled down to maintenance of the existing analogue systems. SAPS technicians know how to repair problems with analogue systems. In the Eastern Cape, the implementation was not specifically for the purposes of the World Cup.

Ms Kohler-Barnard disagreed, stating that the Committee had been categorically told that it was.  SAPS was contradicting itself.

The Chairperson told the representatives that they were putting themselves in trouble, and appealed to them again to be honest and straightforward. The Committee needed to understand why other provinces with similar problems could go without the TETRA system, but the Eastern Cape had to have it. She asked why it was deemed necessary for the Eastern Cape.

Brigadier Bosman replied that in KwaZulu-Natal, by 2008, SAPS had upgraded the system in an amount of R8 million, and this province was covered during the World Cup period. The same applied to Mpumalanga and Limpopo, where SAPS had upgraded the equipment. Because North West was close to the Gauteng borders, SAPS had tried to link to Rustenburg, and had spent R6 million on upgrades. The Free State had also been upgraded in preparation for the World Cup.

Ms Molebatsi asked why SAPS could not have done those same kinds of upgrades in the Eastern Cape.

Brigadier Bosman replied that the contract had already been awarded in the Eastern Cape, and as a result, SAPS did not want to put more money into upgrading older systems.

The Chairperson pointed out that SAPS still had to use the old system, so it might as well have upgraded it at a much lower cost. SAPS had spent two years upgrading the system at a cost of R20 million. She asked why it was not maintaining the current system in the Eastern Cape, especially as there was no other system in place, and whether it had looked at the risk factor of not upgrading the analogue.

Brigadier Bosman said that the issue of not upgrading analogue systems had been taken up with management. At that stage, SAPS had not been in a good financial position. The SAPS Chief Financial Officer (CFO) had not released large amounts of money for any other provinces, besides the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

The Chairperson asked about the value-added services that SAPS had already acquired, and what their value was. SAPS did not have the information at hand, but undertook to provide it. The Chairperson said that it was alarming that when the Committee asked questions about why the current system, which was the only system, was not being maintained, SAPS answered that it was not in a good financial position to maintain it, and she reminded SAPS that the earlier correspondence proved that the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) had warned SAPS management against TETRA, stating that for such a huge investment, exceptional returns should be expected, and pointing out that these returns were seemingly not there, which brought into question whether the need was justified. The CFO had advised that it was seldom that a project of that nature would cost less than the bidding amount, and that it was likely to cost more.

She pointed out that when Members expressed their dissatisfaction with the answers given by SAPS, they were not trying to be difficult. Some basic issues still needed to be addressed. These included whether TETRA was the best solution for the country and whether it was the most cost effective, given the other priorities that existed. None of the members had suggested that SAPS should not migrate into the digital community. However, from the answers given that day, it was clear that SAPS had not gone about migration the best way. The presenter had indicated that there would be a complete system in place within ten years, but supply chain issues that had been raised two years before were still outstanding.  The Committee needed to receive additional information from SAPS in order to answer questions that had not been addressed.

The Committee would direct correspondence to the Minister of Police about his decision regarding the equipment still in France. The Committee needed more information about the bid committee, the phased approach, the 11 missing contracts, previous bids, and the so-called “royalty cuts”. The Committee needed to know who had paid for the set-up at the university who was benefitting from it, whether that was where SAPS staff would be trained; how much it would cost; and whether the use of the system during the World Cup had incurred costs for the university. The Committee needed to know where SAPS stood in relation to the implementation of TETRA. It needed the costs to date, the value of the added services and their costs, the amounts of the other bids and the companies who had submitted them. There were still outstanding projected expenditures for buildings, and the Committee needed to know whether the buildings were put to use once they were finalised.

The Chairperson told General Phiyega that it was important for SAPS to come forward and present a national plan for roll-out. The Committee recommended to the National Commissioner that SAPS should consider maintaining the analogue system until the universal system was in place. She reminded the Department that South Africa was a developmental state, and that every unnecessary rand spent by SAPS was a rand that could have been spent in health, education and social development. The Committee also recommended that the Department’s Legal Services be reviewed, as there were signs of negligence in the drafting of the contracts in question. It was not the first time that a contract appeared to be in the interests of the service provider. The Department needed to look at solutions on how to handle all SAPS contracts, in the future, so that the taxpayers’ interests would be taken care of. All outstanding issues should be addressed by Friday 29 June.

Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM) System
The National Commissioner took the Committee through the presentation on the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM) System, which gave a background, SAPS solution requirements, the reasons why PCEM was required, and the 2008 milestones and timelines. The main functions of PCEM were to take possession of, register, safeguard and investigate property items and exhibits, as well as to dispose of them when necessary.

SAPS had taken a decision to go along with the proposal from Unisys. The costs incurred to date for the various Statement of Works (SoW) were set out. The  total cost was R183.5 million, and this included SoW1-SoW5 over a three-year period, which included the development of PCEM v1.x and the implementation at one site only. These costs did not include any PCEM hardware, which was procured separately in terms of Schedule D. The line items that were procured in terms of Schedule D and their accompanying costs were shown (see attached presentation for details). The presentation also showed the deployment status of PCEM v1.1 and plans for future deployment, the number of items registered and the number of transactions completed in terms of that programme. There were 1 394 PCEM v1.1 registered users. The presentation ended by showing the number of items registered under PCEM v1.1 and the number of transactions.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said that one of the partners from Forensic Data Analysis (FDA), Mr Kitting, was a former SAPS member. That raised the concern that a close relationship with him may have influenced the award. She asked how involved he was, and whether there was any chance that he may have influenced the award.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that some of the items purchased for the PCEM system were separate from the main contract, and that made the total price difficult to assess. Unisys seemed to have benefitted unfairly from the use of Schedule D. She asked where the other bidders had been, what had happened, whether there had been any manipulation, how the decision had been taken, and what the final price of the entire process was.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for elaboration on the role of SITA. SITA was denying all knowledge, and she wondered why. From the Committee’s perspective, one of the biggest concerns was that of the DNA database. The legislation to govern that database was currently being prepared, but the Bill could not be passed before the system was up and running for that to happen. She requested more detail relating to timeframes.

Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted to know if the same company would receive the maintenance contract; if so, she wondered what that company’s appeal was.

Ms Molebatsi asked how many SAPS members had been on the bid evaluation committee, and who its chairperson was. She asked whether there were any discrepancies in the Unisys bid process, and whether Unisys was benefitting from Schedule D. She asked what role Unisys played in training system users.

Mr Lekgetho noted that the contract would expire in December 2014, and asked what plans had been made for after that date.

Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked who had set out the requirements for the bid. She asked whether consumables and equipment had been excluded from the initial contract.

Mr Stubbe made reference to Schedule D, and asked why the SAPS procurement policy had been circumvented.

Mr George asked why the bid evaluation committee consisted of SAPS and SITA, why its report had been sent to SITA for consideration, and what was SITA’s role in the project. He asked why, if SAPS and SITA were working together, the recommendation came from SITA alone. He asked who else had been involved, and who had drafted the specifications.

Mr George asked how much the PCEM project would eventually cost and hoped it knew for what it was budgeting.

Mr George also wanted further information about the former SAPS member who was now a part of Unisys, and whether the contract was the result of a clean process.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that there seemed to be discrepancies on the reporting of the scope of the project. She asked why the number of sites had been decreased. Some of the labs should be operational by now, and she asked if they were.

Mr Ndlovu asked if this project was in line with the Integrated Justice System (IJS) and the Justice, Crime Prevention, and Security (JCPS) cluster requirements, whether and how it shared the budget with other departments in this cluster. The presentation showed the total cost of the PCEM system as R183 million, but he asked if there was anything more than this. Negotiations with the service provider had started at a higher amount, and he wondered whether the R183 million was a starting figure that would end up increasing back to that initial amount.

The Chairperson asked for an explanation of the differences between the PCEM project and the PCEM system, including issues of cost. She asked whether there had ever been a comparative study to see if the old system could have been used, and if so, what the costs would have been.

She noted that the Committee had received information that one of the SAPS Deputy National Commissioners had refused to sign the contract, and that it was instead signed by the Chief Operations Officer, asked why this might have happened, and if there were regulations as to who signed contracts on behalf of SAPS.

The Chairperson said that the total cost of the contract would not amount to R183 million. There were discrepancies in the scope and the value of the contract, and courts, for example, did not appear to benefit. She asked what was not being covered by the R83 million and what that cost was.  She asked why the contract was designed to allow the SAPS to acquire equipment that was not directly related to PCEM, such as blood kits. It was not no surprising that the company was happy to negotiate down from its original bid, because ultimately, it would make more money through Schedule D. She asked whether it was true that 12 vehicles had been purchased through Schedule D at an average of R250 000 per vehicle, and that those vehicles were now at the SITA office. She reminded the SAPS delegation that taxpayers’ money had to be used for very specific purposes, and asked whether Schedule D was being abused to buy things that had nothing to do with PCEM. Schedule D also made allowance for certain equipment to be obtained without first going out on tender, and if this was not actually illegal, she doubted whether it was ethical. She asked whether Schedule D was being used to get around National Treasury regulations.

The Chairperson asked why, if SAPS was comfortable with the situation, it had been suggested earlier that Unisys attend the Portfolio Committee meeting. SAPS had earlier indicated some concerns with Schedule D and the way it allowed things to be procured,  and so she asked why Schedule D was allowed as part of the contract in the first place, whether such open-ended arrangements were acceptable and who had scrutinised the contract from a legal perspective.

The Chairperson pointed out that over and above the contract price, R5 million worth of equipment had been purchased under Schedule D in October 2011, which was neither part of the IJS, nor directly related to PCEM. To date, a total of R799 million had been spent through Schedule D. Unisys had benefitted by roughly R700 million, and the Committee needed to look at interested parties within Unisys. She implored SAPS to state the situation openly, so the Committee did not have to keep calling them back.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme explained that SAPS had requested SITA to advertise on its behalf, but the necessary evaluations were then done by both parties. Because SITA had put the contract in place, it had evaluated it. She conceded that SAPS could not answer many of the questions raised. The acquisitions made in terms of Schedule D were problematic, which was why SAPS had made it clear what some of those items were. All contracts signed on behalf of SAPS were the function of the Deputy National Commissioner in charge of fiscal resource management. She was not immediately able to answer which Deputy National Commissioner had refused to sign the contract, or why, but she would check on that.

General Ngubane addressed the involvement of FDA and Mr Kitting. Mr Kitting had resigned from SAPS in the late 1990s to start his own company. Around 2003, he had been asked to develop the EMS solution. At that time, his company was working in the Auto Vehicle Theft Unit. If Mr Kitting had an inside advantage, it was probably as a result of the relationship with EMS. The functionality of v.1.x was much greater than that of the previous model. SAPS management had the same concerns that the Committee had just raised. Major General Buthelezi was currently putting together a team so that SAPS could take over the PCEM systems development and maintenance.

Another delegate from the SAPS delegation said that there were 16 people on the bid committee, and it was chaired by SAPS. SAPS sent its recommendation to SITA for evaluation and further recommendations to SAPS’ accounting officer, the National Commissioner.

General Ngubane affirmed that SAPS management had great concerns with Schedule D, and the fact that the items that it covered were not part of the original contract negotiation. The items were needed, but the wrong vehicle had been used. He admitted that this was not a correct way to attend to a contract.

General Ngubane said that PCEM was an IJS initiative, with the portion of the IJS budget that was allocated to the police. The project should ultimately result in an automated system to process and display exhibits. It was named as a “project” because it was IT-based. The specifications had been formulated by SAPS and sent to SITA, where all the documentation was put in place.

Another SAPS delegate added that SAPS had already standardised on the Java platform, with which PCEM v1.x was compatible. The implementation of PCEM v1.1 was intended to replace EMS, where the latter was in existence.

General Adeline Shezi, Head: Quality, Forensic Division, SAPS, said that there were limited resources within the forensics environment, and this was where PCEM had been rolled out. However, there were serious network problems that were not likely to be sorted out soon. She could not confirm when there would be full roll-out of PCEM. The pilot project would determine whether the project could be rolled out across the board for the DNA register.

General Ngubane conceded that there were many grey areas to the question of the signatory. The Chief Information Officer had been off sick at the time that the contract was signed, and she had made a note that she signed at a later date, when she returned. Unisys had probably been involved in drawing up the specifications.

The Chairperson noted also that the contract had been signed in 2010, and at that stage the previous National Commissioner had said that he had to sign off on every contract worth more than R500 000.

General Kabelo said SAPS did not participate in the signing of the contract.

The Chairperson asked whether a conflict of interest had ever been discussed, given the fact that Unisys was probably involved in drawing up the specifications.

General Kabelo replied that SAPS had not discussed any individual member of the consortium.

Mr Ndlovu asked what that statement meant.

General Kabelo explained that he was referring to the partners in the consortium. The consortium was comprised of five companies, of which Unisys was the prime member, and the company that responded to the tender. There were three sub-committees. Under no circumstances had FDA played a role directly, unless this was not visible to SAPS. He explained that the abbreviation “RFB” stood for “Request for Bid”.

The Chairperson asked why ten members of the SAPS Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) sat on the RFB Committee.

General Kabelo said that SITA members had never participated in drawing up the RFB, and whoever submitted that information had misled the Committee. In answer to Mr Ndlovu’s query if he was quite sure on this point, he said that a standing committee had been formed.

Mr George said that from the way General Kabelo was speaking, he did not seem to be sure of his answers, and urged him to admit it if he did not know the answers.

The Chairperson said that she had a note about SITA’s involvement, but of further concern was that ten of the RFB committee were BEC members, along with three SITA members and 21 SAPS members. This information was contained in a SAPS document. It was incorrect for BEC members to serve on the RFB committee, and this point had been stressed repeatedly.

General Ngubane asked permission for the Department to get back to the Committee in response to the question about the discrepancy between R183 million and the original amount that had been provided.

The Chairperson wondered why that would be necessary, since that information came from SAPS originally.

Ms Kohler-Barnard did not understand why the issue was raised only when the Committee started raising issues about Schedule D. Unisys had already benefitted massively from Schedule D. She asked how long those officials from SAPS who were present today had been in charge of the project, whether others were now distancing themselves, and whether anyone present had been involved at the time Schedule D was implemented. Schedule D had already been used to procure R750 000 worth of equipment that was not related to PCEM.

Mr Ndlovu asked whether SAPS had answered his question about the total amount of the PCEM contract to date.

The Chairperson said that SAPS was not in a position to answer exactly at that moment, but if it was all added up, the amount would come to nearly R1 billion.

Mr Ndlovu then asked where SAPS had procured the other money, since it was supposed to use ring-fenced money only for specific purposes.

Mr George asked if SAPS officials were passing the buck, as it seemed to be trying to imply that this was SITA’s decision, despite half the RFB committee being from SAPS.

Ms Mocumi asked who had drafted the specifications. She asked when SAPS realised that it would need some of the consumables and equipment that were not included in the contract, and why those were not part of the original specifications. Alternatively, she wondered why they were not put out on tender separately.

The Chairperson said that it was clearly an illegal contract and SAPS should try to get itself out of it. There was no positive evidence on the ground to account for the money that had been spent. The Committee did not accept that SAPS was bound by this contract.  In 2011, the current SAPS management had spent over R500 million under Schedule D. She asked whether there had been other bidders, and, if so, called for their names and the amounts of their bids.

The Chairperson said it was worrying that implementation at labs was meant to be completed by 2012, and the system was supposed to rolled out at 150 police stations, yet this had not happened. She asked directly if PCEM was behind schedule, and if so, asked if there were penalty clauses in the contract. She also asked why the courts had suddenly “disappeared” from the plan.

The Chairperson added that some of the companies in the consortium had been involved in serious tender irregularities in the past.

She asked how many PCEM users at forensic labs had been trained, and at what cost. The contract stated that SAPS could require the company to recommend a training programme, on a quotation basis, and SAPS had formerly said that training in ITC was problematic. In 2011 and 2012, 200 new users had been trained, at a cost of R7.52 million, and, based on these figures, it seemed that R752.5 million would be needed to train another 20 000 users.

The Chairperson was not sure if SAPS could respond to all of the questions that were being raised. She urged a serious re-examination of the contract, and a proper investigation into what had happened. It was interesting that licences had been increased at no extra cost. She asked whether it was not possible to further extend the EMS system, as contradictory statements had been made, but no study was apparently done. She told Gen Phiyega that the Committee was very frustrated, especially since it had seen similar problems with SAPS property leases, yet no consequences were apparent. The Committee insisted that the people who were responsible should be criminally charged, yet some were released from SAPS with discharges in terms of Section 35 of the South African Police Services Act. She asked why no charges were laid, or why some people were charged but others were not. R1 billion had basically gone, with nothing to show for it. She urged that SAPS must review the contract and ensure that there was no criminality involved.

Lieutenant-General Mofomme said that SAPS had not presented on facts of which it was unaware. Everything that SAPS knew was presented. She said that not all the management team on this was new, and the management team had received some submissions for procurement of items towards the development of PCEM, which had been approved, and was asking questions about submissions that had not been approved. SAPS had asked SITA to review the contract, and  SAPS had already also made a decision that in future there should be no more procurements in terms of Schedule D.

Brigadier Bosman said that the R183 million had been ring-fenced specifically for PCEM, and that SAPS was on track with this.

The Chairperson said that SAPS was acting contrary to National Treasury regulations, and, by extension, flouting the law. She did not agree that SAPS was on track, asking where the 150 police stations were.

Brigadier Bosman said that what was contracted came to a value of R183 million, and that the contract specified that if SAPS needed additional goods or services in terms of that contract, it would call upon the contractor to provide those services.

The Chairperson said that was exactly where the problem lay. This project therefore did not cost R183 million, and SAPS had been misleading the Committee for some time about the real cost. The Committee wanted SAPS to stop using ring-fenced funding for other purposes, as it was intended to benefit the entire CJS, not to buy disposable products. Everyone knew this, and she felt that, in order to prevent further embarrassment, the meeting should be brought to a halt, and SAPS must provide written answers to those questions not yet answered. The Committee wanted to know about the 150 police stations that were supposed to be built, and which of them would be complete within nine months. She gave the National Commissioner an opportunity to make closing remarks.

General Phiyega said that the meeting had been a most sobering experience, but she was thankful for what had come out, as it could otherwise have taken her many months to understand the extent of the challenges that SAPS was facing. It was clear that the Department was dealing with very significant investments. Citizens and oversight bodies rightly expected that SAPS understand the urgency of delivery, and the fact that it must be up to the task. She apologised for matters not answered fully, said that the team would engage, be committed, and get back to the Committee with timeframes and commitments. The Minister of Police had indicated, in his budget speech, that he was concerned about SAPS, and he had asked the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to look into some of those matters. She personally would consult to broaden the scope, and require an urgent audit of the environment. SAPS management needed to reassess the many issues it was facing, including Standard Operation Procedures, management issues, timeous rolling out of tasks, and contract management. She would present later on progress on the plans, and would also address consequence management.

The Chairperson confirmed that the Committee would support an audit, provided that it was not internal, and involved the Auditor–General, and an investigation report must be submitted as soon as it was compiled. SAPS management was not all new. The Committee needed to know who it could hold responsible. SAPS management should be stable, and systems and processes must remain consistent. She stressed that the Committee was not raising these issues to be difficult, but because crime was one of the factors inhibiting development of the country. Committee members worked together, in the interests of the country, in a non-partisan fashion, and it was not pleasant when they had to reprimand SAPS management. Just as SAPS management was judged on its performance, so too was the Committee, and Members wanted to be proud of SAPS. She reminded the SAPS delegation that the former Chairperson of this Committee, Ms Sindi Chikunga, had said that whilst no-one wanted to see the SAPS budget cut, its performance was leading to that conclusion. There was no question that SAPS needed to turn itself around. She commented that she would have expected management also to be fully prepared, as the Committee Members were, and to respect that Members represented the interests of the people on the ground.  

The Chairperson told General Phiyega that she probably now understood why everyone had been telling her that the National Police Commissioner was not an easy job. However, she could count on support from every Committee Member. She said that it was easy, but undesirable, for her to become absorbed by the SAPS.

The Chairperson repeated that Lieutenant-General Mofomme must provide full responses to unanswered questions by Friday 29 June. She did not believe that the Committee could afford to wait long for the Auditor–General’s report on the PCEM issue, and therefore asked General Phiyega that if there was any indication of illegality in any of the contracts under discussion, she should not permit the culprits to resign, without criminal charges being laid, or take Section 35 discharges. The Chairperson asked that if report-backs were available before the next scheduled meeting, a new meeting would be arranged. She thanked General Phiyega for attending the meetings over the past two days, appreciated her decisiveness, and noted again the Committee’s support.

 The meeting was adjourned.


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