ATC110529: Report on Oversight visit to the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) project in Port Elizabeth on 29 November 2011, dated 29 May 2012




Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the oversight visit to the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) project in Port Elizabeth on 29 November 2011, dated 29 May 2012.


The Portfolio Committee on Police reports as follows:




Hon. L S Chikunga, ANC – Chairperson

Hon. G Lekgetho, ANC

Hon. P Mocumi, ANC

Hon. A Molebatsi, ANC

Hon. G Schneemann, ANC

Hon. A Van Wyk, ANC

Hon. D Kohler Barnard, DA

Hon. M Swathe, DA

Hon. L Ramatlakane, COPE

Hon. V B Ndlovu, IFP

Ms Z Vice (Committee Secretary)

Ms Tsana (Committee Assistant)

Ms P Whittle (Researcher)


The delegation was accompanied by the following officials:


Civilian Secretariat for Police


Mr S Mahote




National Office


(Dr) Lieutenant Gen. Mofomme - Deputy National Commisioner: Physical Resource


Lieutenant Gen.Tshabalala - Divisional Commissioner: Technology Management


Major Gen. Gabela - Head: Hosting Networks and End User Equipment


Major Gen. Mavundla - Head: Technology Governance Management

Major Gen. Buthelezi - Head: Systems Infrastructure and Technology


Brigadier Bosman Section - Head: Radio Technical Services


Provincial Office


Lieutenant Gen. Binta - Provincial Commissioner:

Major Gen. Ntantiso - Physical Resources Management

Brigadier Paulus - Police Emergency Service

Colonel Reutenbarch - Radio unit

Lt Colonel Van Rooyen - Radio Technical Unit


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University – Tetra Academy


Dr Kerry Lee Thomson - Senior Lecturer: School of ICT

Prof D Pattas - Director of the School of ICT at NMMU

Prof H de Jager - Executive Dean:Faculty of Engineering, the Built

Environment and Information Technology


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality


Andre du Toit - Assistant Director for Security Services

Mr John Best - Assistant Project Director for Safety and Security


Integcomm (service provider)


Mr Kenny Govender - Chief Commercial Officer

Mr J Jordaan - Programme Manager





The Portfolio Committee conducted an oversight visit to the TETRA project in Port Elizabeth in order to physically view the TETRA project in operation, to determine whether the project provides value for money and to see the impact of the project on service delivery.


The oversight visit emanated from the fact that South African Police Services (SAPS) management had not reported at any stage on the TETRA project.


There was also no mention of the TETRA project in the relevant SAPS documents, such as the SAPS Annual Performance Plans, the SAPS Annual Reports and the Estimate of National Expenditure documents, despite the high costs related to the project and the fact that the Department had listed 16 other technology projects in its 2011/12 Annual Performance Plan.

In Port Elizabeth , the Committee was briefed by SAPS management, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality and Integcomm (service provider). Site visits were conducted to the CCTV Centre Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality , Mount Road 10111 Centre, the construction site of the new 10111 Centre Korsten and the SAPS Mowbray Warehouse storage facility.




  • TETRA would limit the interruptions of the radio frequency by other institutions, such as tow-trucks.
  • Coverage was limited on the analogue radio system, which makes it difficult for SAPS members to communicate over a wider area; hence, it was vital that the system be moved to digital.
  • The TETRA academy in NMMU was the only one in the world that was situated at a university. Others are industrially based.
  • The system was used by the German police and their medical services.
  • TETRA was also used by the United Kingdom and was successfully utilised during the Beijing Olympics.
  • The system worked well during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
  • TETRA was launched in SA on 30 April 2010.
  • The information gathered through the system was admissible in court as evidence.
  • Since the installation of the system in the area, crime had gone down.
  • The system can be used for early warning systems, for example in national disasters.
  • The system will be used by all the emergency units, e.g. SAPS, Metro Police and ambulance services.
  • The Department was building high sites and upgrading the old ones.
  • When the system is fully installed, the cost of AVL will go down.
  • SAPS did not have a maintenance contract with the service provider and was currently in the process of drawing one up.




· The contract cost of R920 757 240.00 is payable to Integcomm (the supplier) over five years. Despite the fact that contract was signed in 2008, Integcomm was only able to provide a 10% performance guarantee on 10 November 2011.



· The R920 757 240.00 does not include the costs of the 10111 buildings (Capital Works) being built by the Department of Public Works (DPW).


The additional costs of the 10111 buildings are estimated at R220 million - R100 million ( Port Elizabeth ); R70 million ( East London ) and R50 million (Mthatha ).


· A total of 110 lease contracts have been concluded with landowners on whose properties TETRA masts have been or will be erected. It is necessary to establish the costs of these contracts, and over which period and for how long these will be payable by SAPS.



The following key issues of concern were raised by the Committee:


5.1. Concerns around direct and indirect costs of the system


· It was not clear whether the contract made provision or whether SAPS budgeted for maintenance and related costs of the TETRA system once it was installed .

· The Committee pointed out that there had been no service level agreement for the maintenance of the TETRA system which was implemented in Gauteng in 2007. This contributed to TETRA failing and not being fully functional in Gauteng .


· The Eastern Cape is not the province with the highest crime rate, having only the fourth highest crime rate compared to the rest of the country. Why was it prioritised for such a massive and costly project?


· In terms of the contract, SAPS had to go to France in December 2011 to conduct a Factory Acceptance inspection of the TETRA equipment before shipment to South Africa ; and this additional travelling and associated costs were borne by SAPS.


· A member of the delegation wanted information on why it was decided to use capacity in France and not in South Africa, as the Vodacom system (to use existing infrastructure with the same results) was already under way when TETRA was signed off.


· The Committee also requested information on what research had been conducted and other systems considered by SAPS before it decided on TETRA; and whether any cost analysis was done in respect of the reconditioning of SAPS’s current system.


· The presentation did not give information on personnel capacity and what impact the costs would have on current expenditure.


· The TETRA project was two years behind schedule due to Integcomm delaying in providing a 10% performance guarantee, and it was not clear what impact this would have on the final costs of the project.


· According to SAPS, Integcomm was not paid in the years that they did not perform but nevertheless continued with the ground work. The contract specifies that construction must be completed in three years, while payment can take up to five years. The Committee did not share the SAPS’s optimism that all the work in terms of the contract would be completed on time, as it was already two years behind schedule.


· The link between the SAPS and the Municipality’s 10111 centres and war rooms was not clear; and the Committee wanted to know whether the Municipality and other departments who use these facilities will share in the costs of using TETRA on these systems.


· It was not clear whether the cost of the handsets had been included in the contract.


5.2 Concerns in relation to the five-year delay period before the system can be used


· The contract appears to be one-sided and in favour of the contractor, as the SAPS will only be able to use the system after five years, when the contract is paid up and all installations have been completed.


· The Committee requested information on how many SAPS personnel had been trained on TETRA to date.


· There was a concern that the TETRA system at the university could be used to access the system to be used by SAPS, which raised the issue of security. The Committee also wanted to know whether the NMMU would be training SAPS personnel only and what the costs of further training would be to SAPS once the initial training covered by the contract was completed.


· Due to the accelerated technological advances being made worldwide, there is a very real possibility that after five years there might be more suitable systems available which would render the system out-dated or obsolete. This would result in wasted costs.


· The Department had informed the Committee about the advantages of the TETRA project. The Committee wanted to know the weaknesses of the project; for instance, an example was made of a shortcoming in relation to the Gautrain that did not have network coverage when the train operated underground.


· Now that SAPS had decided to move from analogue to digital, what would become of the analogue systems and equipment which had been acquired at great costs?


· It was not comprehensible that the system was switched on for the Fifa World Cup and had to be switched off again and that handsets used during the World Cup had to be given back to the supplier.


· It was not clear why the handsets and TETRA equipment were being stored at the SAPS Mowbray Warehouse storage facility for a period of five years.


· The Committee was very concerned that the SAPS management in charge of the warehouse was unable to give an accurate account of the TETRA items and handsets stored at the warehouse and some of the boxes of handsets did not have all the components like chargers and batteries when random boxes were opened and their contents checked against each other.


· The visit to the warehouse also raised the concern that after three years there was very little to show for the R190 952 026.05 (R190 million) that has already been paid to Integcomm.


· The Committee was concerned by the fact that, during the visit/meeting, SAPS mentioned that it was not necessary to apply for a licence from ICASA, but the Committee learnt that SAPS subsequently applied for it.




· SAPS management was unable to explain why they had decided to implement TETRA in the Eastern Cape when the TETRA project appeared to be failing in Gauteng . According to SAPS, the Gautrain problem would be solved by installing cell enhancers, but they were unable to provide the exact costs (“a couple of million”) of these, as bids for R25 million were in excess of the advertised allocation amount (R10 million).


· SAPS management was unable to explain which lessons were learnt from the TETRA project in Gauteng and how those challenges identified would be addressed in order to avoid similar problems in the Eastern Cape .


· SAPS management was also unable to confirm whether Tetra would be rolled out to other provinces.


· The SAPS management had already implemented an Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system at enormous costs and had also made a presentation on a Vodacom project. The link between TETRA and these projects was not clear.


· The SAPS management, which included Deputy National Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mofomme, and Eastern Cape Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Binta,, was unable to confirm which system SAPS had decided on and whether they would go ahead with TETRA, AVL or the Vodacom project; or whether SAPS was moving towards one integrated system. The Committee was referred to the National Police Commissioner for an answer in this regard.



The Delegation wanted reassurance that no-one linked to SAPS benefited financially from the TETRA contract or had interests in Integcomm, the company to whom the bid was awarded; and thus requested details of the company, its directors and membership.


SAPS would provide full details of the Motorola case, where SAPS was taken to court during the bidding process, and the list of other companies that had bid for TETRA.


The Committee requested SAPS to respond to all questions in writing and to submit an implementation and maintenance Plan with such responses.


It was agreed that the Committee would invite SAPS to Parliament to provide a detailed briefing on TETRA that would include a breakdown of costs, and implementation, maintenance and roll out plans.



(SAPS subsequently provided the answers in writing on 30 January 2012)





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