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02 May 2018 15:15
Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole. (Felix Dlangamandla/Gallo)
The right-wing terrorist group the Boeremag has ties to a cabal that has been operating at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and is part of Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) dealings with the police and SITA — dealings which have been described in Parliament as “corrupt” and “a threat to national security”.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) executive director Robert McBride told the disturbed Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday that he has alerted previous police commissioners about this, but that nothing has been done and IPID have been met with resistance to suspend certain people.
READ MORE: FDA threatens to ‘collapse criminal justice system’
“The question needs to be asked whether SAPS had been used as a vehicle to fund a white supremacist, non-constitutional organisation whose sole aim is to undo, to destroy with violence the constitutional order,” said McBride.
He said a lot of people might not believe in the ideology but are tempted by the money.
Scopa met with the police and SITA about FDA’s contract dispute with these two entities which saw FDA switch three of the police’s systems in early April, a move that police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole described as a threat to national security.
At Tuesday’s meeting, DA MP Tim Brauteseth, who opened the FDA’s can of worms in Scopa last November, mentioned the names Barnie Venter, Rachel Venter, Christo de Bruyn and Yolanda Potgieter to Sitole and SITA CEO Setumo Mohapi.
Mohapi said he knew the names except that of Potgieter.
Brauteseth said she corresponded with a SITA letterhead. The others work or worked at SITA, which Mohapi confirmed.
He then mentioned the name of Boeremag member Andre du Toit, currently serving a jail sentence for treason.
“I remember him well,” said Sitole.
Brauteseth said these people were in correspondence with Du Toit and are supporting him financially.
Mohapi admitted that they have uncovered it last year. They have used SITA’s laptops and networks in their dealings with Du Toit.
“So we have someone sitting in prison, who is a convicted terrorist, sending e-mails to SITA?” said Brauteseth.
He asked what Barnie Venter’s role was in the allocation of contracts to FDA.
Mohapi said he dealt with the Rofin-contract between SITA and the FDA as a business case originator, who develops a case for the contract. He was also involved in the negotiation of the contract.
The order for the Rofin-contract was generated on March 31 2016, at 4.57pm for an amount of R52.9-million. The invoice was then submitted and payment was made, all on the same day. This was the last day of the financial year.
The IPID found this “clearly demonstrates corruption through fiscal dumping”, and SITA’s own investigation also found irregularities with the contract, leading to Barnie Venter’s suspension.
Rachel Venter is an administrator at SITA, but ANC MP Vincent Smith said she has bought farms. Mohapi said she is also suspended due to a conflict of interest, as she owns companies she did not declare.
Smith referred to a letter from SITA to the committee, which he described as “seriously damaging evidence” of their ties to the Boeremag, which police minister Bheki Cele didn’t see because SITA didn’t address it to him.
Smith said there are more people at SITA involved than those that Brauteseth mentioned.
“Do we have a problem in SITA with a cabal that has taken over SITA?” Smith asked. “Are they still in place and still assisting people like the Boeremag?”
Mohapi said they are “actively working against the cabal itself”. He said of those identified, five have resigned, five is suspended and three has been dismissed.
ANC MP Nyami Booi said SITA is running “a counterrevolutionary structure” and Parliament must take over.
“It is a national threat to us, the safety of our country is not in capable hands,” Booi said.
“Have you told anybody of the Boeremag?”
Sitole said he was aware of “up to 80%” of what was revealed at the meeting.
“The Boeremag-issue is a bigger national security investigation,” he said.
READ MORE: Contractual spat puts justice system in peril
He said they have initiated their own crime intelligence and covert orientated investigation.
On April 5, FDA — a supplier to the police linked to corruption — shut down three police systems. The company, run by former police officer Keith Keating, claimed SITA had not paid it for five months for its services. The company’s other director is Vhonani Mufamadi, brother of former minister of safety and security Sydney Mufamadi.
The systems have since been turned back on, and the dispute is headed to court, with Sitole saying he feels optimistic about the police’s case.
READ MORE: SITA admits there was irregularity in SAPS tender allegedly linked to Phahlane
The graft allegations against FDA emerged at a dramatic Scopa-meeting on November 29 last year.
At that meeting, it emerged that SITA awarded a contract for police forensic equipment, mostly lights and Nikon cameras, worth more than R900-million to FDA and a contract to another Keating-linked company for the maintenance of this equipment, without following procurement processes and without there being a reason for FDA being the sole provider.
IPID recommended that the police stop paying FDA, a view that was shared by Scopa.
It was also said that FDA had done business worth R5-billion with the police since 2010. Keating disputes this figure and earlier denied the allegations, saying they were part of a plot for a hostile takeover of his business.
It is further alleged that Keating, a former police officer himself, paid for the vehicles of corruption-accused former police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and his wife Beauty Phahlane. — News24
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