Kenny Leluma asks why Premier Zille hasn’t acted over illegal Didata tender in Bitou
The DA’s Brummer is quoted in Sunday Times of February 5, 2012 as having said that his reference to Jeremy Ord of Didata in his email to senior DA officials as a ‘supporter’ was because the company did a “free assessment” of the municipality’s IT system, and that “politics has nothing to do with [illegal awarding of a contract]“.
He is also reported to have claimed that no tender was put out because the work was “an emergency”. He ended his response by saying that the municipality is “paying [Didata] something like R4, 2million but every cent is accounted for down to the last safety pin.”
The problem with Brummer, and the DA by extension, is that they think that they are intelligent while everybody else is stupid.
Brummer must explain what he meant by “free assessment” because there was none such a thing. Didata was asked by the DA to “look” into the system and give a quotation. This is confirmed by Thys Giliomee’s Memorandum to Booysen wherein he states that after doing an assessment, Didata submitted the total cost implications of R11.9m.
The municipality tried to get funding from the province. After being unable to get provincial assistance, “further negotiations were held with Dimension Data (7 Dec 2011). Didata was then asked to revise their specifications, and “the quotation was received early on 9 December 2012 (sic)”
From these it is clear that Didata did nothing for free. They “assessed” the system in order to write a quotation. And they ended up getting an illegal contract.
According to Giliomee’s Memo, Lefatshe was told in September 2011 that their contract was going to be terminated on 31 December 2011. We also know that Booysen wrote a letter to the public in September indicating two things.
First that the contract of Lefatshe was going to be terminated; and second that a DA MPL, Donald Grant met with Jeremy Ord of Didata and the two agreed that Didata would be involved in the IT system of Bitou. We also know that by October 4, 2011, Didata was given access to the municipality’s offices to make this “assessment”.
The request for deviation was made on December 12, 2011. That is more than three months after a decision was taken to terminate the Lefatshe contract. So, Brummer is lying when he says they didn’t put the work out on Tender because it was an “emergency“.
In the absence of a comparison with other companies, what is the basis of claiming that the municipality is getting a fair deal? Didata wrote own specification. This is confirmed in Giliomee’s memo.
Given the above irrefutable facts, it is obvious that Didata wrote specifications for the contract later awarded to them. The DA awarded an illegal contract to Didata. There were no reasons other than corruption not to put the work out for tender.
I have reasonable assumptions why the DA didn’t want to put it on tender. I’m however puzzled why a company as big as Didata can get itself involved is such a corrupt activity, or is this indication of how they had been making their money.
But there are two other issues related to this contract that have not been raised in the Sunday Times article, and maybe it’s because the journalists were not aware of them. The company was paid and started working without a contract between Didata and the municipality being signed. If it was subsequently signed, that was a result of them being aware of the media attention on the matter.
Lastly, Helen Zille was informed, and all documents given to her, of this corruption at least three weeks before the Sunday Times article but nothing was done about it. Maybe she has an explanation for that behaviour.
Kenny Leluma was political advisor to the ANC executive mayor of Bitou, under the municipality’s previous administration.
Article appeared on Politicsweb.