Coghsta security contract – more questions than answers

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance suspects that strings were pulled to keep a security company on the payroll of the Northern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance for close on 10 years. This comes after a reply to a parliamentary question has raised more questions than it has provided answers.

The security contract between the department and security services, Kapa Bokone Security, initially came under the scrutiny of the Auditor-General last year for irregular expenditure valued at almost R7 million in the 2011/2012 financial year. Following information received from Coghsta, the DA has since also learnt that the department’s contract with Kapa Bokone dates all the way back to 1 July 2004 and was intermittently extended and expanded up until April this year.

The DA finds it questionable that the contract, which was only for three years with an option to renew for two years, and was thus due to expire in 2009 at the latest, was continued on an ad hoc basis for an additional four years without the department re-advertising the tender. This, especially as the department has failed not only to provide reasons for this extension, but also all relevant documentation as requested from them, instead citing that they are not in possession of all previous tenders and details of the bids. Further elevating our concerns are the allegations that came to light in February this year, to the effect that the security tender, which was eventually advertised this year, was specially re-advertised after a shortlist had already been drawn up, in order to give Kapa Bokone an opportunity to reapply because they were late doing so the first time.

The deeper one looks at this thing, the more it would appear that this department has gone out of its way to keep Kapa Bokone on their payroll, regardless of whether or not they were in fact receiving the best value for money with this service provider.  The question is why?

The DA wants MEC for Coghsta, Alvin Botes, to investigate this matter. Perhaps he could start by interviewing Ms Greta Appelgren-Narkedien, whose signature is one of those displayed on some of the addendums to the agreement, authorizing the contract extensions. Appelgren-Narkedien has recently come under the spotlight for having allegedly been unlawfully appointed as the deputy director general to the fisheries department by President Jacob Zuma via a presidential minute. The MEC should also query why, for a period of three months the contract inexplicably shot up from an amount of R472 567,19 per month to an amount of R783 206,44 per month.

It is the DA’s view that there are just too many unanswered questions regarding the security contract, worth millions of rands, and that that it needs to be opened up for public scrutiny. The DA will write to Botes, requesting him to investigate this contract. We will also submit another parliamentary question to determine to whether a new security contract has since been awarded and, if so, to whom.