ANC whitewashes Sizwe Africa IT deal in portfolio committee

ANC whitewashes Sizwe Africa IT deal in portfolio committee

The ANC has whitewashed the awarding of a controversial R530 million contract to Sizwe Africa IT Group, which is a subsidiary of well-known ANC ally Iqbal Survé’s Ayo Technology Solutions. The ANC Education portfolio members have resolved to go ahead with the contract during the latest portfolio committee meeting, despite the vehement objections from opposition parties.

It was clear from the outset of the meeting that the ANC members had been instructed to push through the contract and absolve their cadre deployed officials from any accountability, despite mounting evidence that this contract is irregular and that those involved have broken the law.

The resolution passed by the ANC members in the committee meeting, was a rubber stamp of alleged corrupt activities, and has undermined the legislative oversight role that they swore an oath to uphold.

In an attempt to silence my criticism of the Department over the contract, the Education MEC, Fundile Gade, even went as far as to seek a legal opinion on whether I have the right to open a criminal case against the Department, if I am serving on the committee.

The legal opinion, however, made it quite clear that I am entitled to open a criminal case, much to the MEC’s disappointment.

Presentations before the committee have made it clear that the Department of Education’s (DoE) piggybacking on the back of a contract with Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) is irregular. A request to Provincial Treasury in December 2019 was denied in January 2020.

The DoE was then advised to embark on an open and transparent procurement process, making use of the SITA. All ICT goods and services should be procured directly through SITA or through the relevant SITA Transversal Contracts, inviting all accredited service providers therein as per the SITA engagement model.

Instead of doing so, DoE again approached Provincial Treasury in March, to reconsider the request to join the contract. This time approval was granted, subject to the DoE adhering to certain conditions.

On 8 May 2020, the Provincial Treasury informed DoE that they did not comply with the conditions that were set out, even though DOE had said that they have adhered to them.

Despite this evidence, previous presentations detailing dramatic price inflation, and serious concerns raised over the contract, the ANC have now pushed this contract through.

I will now be approaching the Special Investigations Unit to request an investigation into this contract and the actions and deceiving nature in which the department has handled the contract.

The ANC have now made it abundantly clear that, when they must choose between the people they have been elected to represent and their own self-interests, the people do not stand a chance.