R185m SABC security tender was 'irregular' - SIU report

18 December 2018 - 15:09 By KARYN MAUGHAN
The drive to clean up the SABC has been given another blow with allegations of an irregularly awarded security tender.
The drive to clean up the SABC has been given another blow with allegations of an irregularly awarded security tender.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times.

A preliminary Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe has found that a R185m SABC security tender was irregularly awarded by its interim board and should be set aside.

The interim board was appointed in 2017 to resolve challenges at the public broadcaster but has now found itself in crisis following the resignations of four of its board members in December.

These findings will cast a shadow over President Cyril Ramaphosa's drive to clean up the SABC, which has reported losses exceeding R1.5bn over the past two financial years.

Tebogo Malatji, the lawyer representing former interim board members Khanyisile Kweyama, Krish Naidoo, John Matisonn and Mathatha Tsedu last week denied there was any link between their resignations and the security tender.

The resignations of the four come after reports that new communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was "at war" with the board over the retrenchments of 981 permanent staff and 1,200 freelancers, and allegations that members refused to allow her to first negotiate a bailout with finance minister Tito Mboweni before going ahead with the job cuts.

The SIU said its initial investigations into the security tender revealed that the "SABC flouted its own procurement policies" in awarding the contract to second-ranked bidder Mafoko Security, which was reportedly R2m more expensive than the highest-ranked bidder, Mjayeli Security.

The tender was for the provision of security services to the SABC over five years. It was put out in February 2017 and was awarded by the interim board, the same one that was arguing with the minister.

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