FDA's contracts with police 'threatened national security' – Sitole

National Commissioner says it renders the organisation open to manipulation

FDA's contracts with police 'threatened national security' – Sitole

18 April 2018

The police found that some of their contracts with Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) "were shaped in such a manner that they take away the sovereignty of the state", National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole told the Portfolio Committee on Police on Tuesday.

"This renders the organisation open to manipulation," said Sitole.

"It automatically became a national security threat."

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman asked him about FDA.

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 the State Information Technology Agency (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. Last week, before the matter was due to be heard in court, two of the systems were turned back on. According to Sitole, these systems have the biggest impact on policing. He said FDA said it had turned the other system off incorrectly and it would be switched back on.

He didn't want to say much on the matter, as he considers it sub judice.

Proactive steps

"We're not fighting with suppliers," he said. "But we want to correct it to protect our sovereignty."

He said after the systems were switched off, the police came up with a contingency plan and "challenged the perpetual right to software".

"We will continue to ensure services are rendered," Sitole said.

Beukman said there should be proactive steps on this issue from the leadership of the police.

Sitole agreed and said a new process for the ownership of the systems was being implemented.

Keating is a central figure in the corruption case against former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane that is currently before the court. He allegedly paid for Phahlane's vehicles.

R5bn in contracts since 2010

Further graft allegations emerged at a dramatic meeting of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) 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 R900m 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.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (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 R5bn 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.