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Hawks probe police IT unit

The Hawks will conduct a comprehensive investigation into allegations of corruption in the IT unit, says police minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa has instructed the Hawks to investigate allegations of tender irregularity for Technology Management Services (TMS) within the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Delivering the SAPS budget vote to Parliament, the minister said he expects a turnaround plan for TMS by the end of the month.

“We have dubbed this year's budget vote 'The Year of the Detective', with a focus on 10-point priority deliverables. We purposefully narrowed our focus for this fiscal year to 10 priorities, because we not only believe they are achievable, but because they must be achieved.”

The first priority is the transformation of the SAPS. Others include building of new police stations; better policing of public service delivery; strengthening crime intelligence capacity; continuing to be an arsenal in the fight against crime; crime against women and children; skills-focused recruitment as opposed to volume-based recruitment; and improvement in forensic science laboratories.

Comprehensive investigation

The ninth priority is the investigation into allegations of corruption within the SAPS ICT division.

“I have, over the last two years, emphasised the need for us to look at policing more smartly and that we need to get value for money from the amount we are spending on technology. Currently, the department had a budget of approximately R2.6 billion on technology, as allocated under the TMS division. However, allegations of tender mismanagement, irregular expenditure and lack of return on investment have been brought to my attention,” said the minister.

He added that a two-pronged strategy will be adopted to tackle this problem. “Firstly, I have instructed that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) conduct a comprehensive investigation into allegations of corruption in the TMS environment.”

Secondly, Mthethwa has instructed that he receive a plan from TMS regarding a turnaround strategy, with clear plans on what they will spend on over the next five years, by the end of May.

“All major projects must be planned for and speak to our operational priorities, which must be accompanied by transparent procurement processes.”

Smart police

The final priority for the department is smart policing to enhance the criminal justice system.

Mthethwa said the first step is the harmonisation of the ICT sector within the SAPS.

“The realisation of this objective will speak to various issues, among them the e-docketing. The e-docketing system will eliminate the problem of missing dockets. Huge resources have been dedicated to the ICT within SAPS, and we need to make sure that we are receiving returns on this investment. ICT should also be able to contribute to the increased detection rate, the roll-out of war rooms and the improvements in our forensic laboratories.”

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