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Ramaphosa orders SIU to probe IFMS project

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate National Treasury's controversial integrated financial management system (IFMS) project.

This is according to the Business Insider, which reports that Ramaphosa has instructed the SIU to “dig into failures” in regards to Treasury’s bungled IT project.

The Web site states that the president signed the proclamation initiating the SIU investigation on 6 January, but it was only formally published on Friday.

“In the proclamation, Ramaphosa directs the SIU to investigate contracts around the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), going back as far as 1 January 2016,” it states.

Based on the president’s mandate, the investigation will also cover the time minister Pravin Gordhan was leading National Treasury. According to the report, the SIU is directed to “investigate Treasury officials and employees for any unlawful, irregular, or improper intervention in contracts”.

This wouldn’t be the first time an investigation has been logged into the fumbled IT project.

In 2017, Treasury published a tender for a forensic investigation into the IFMS initiative. At the time, National Treasury said the investigation would be across what it calls the IFMS 1 and IFMS 2 projects, adding that this encompasses investigation of all payments, including approvals and contract compliance on IFMS 2 to date.

Launched in 2005, the IFMS project aimed to secure an integrated solution for national government, incorporating supply chain management, financial management, HR management, payroll, inventory and business intelligence.

Government’s ICT entity, the State IT Agency (SITA) was appointed as project manager of the IFMS.

Government's initial strategy was to procure a bespoke system, developed specifically for its requirements. A decade later, however, Parliament was told the resulting system was not viable and should be abandoned. The failed effort cost the country in excess of R1.2 billion.

In its place, government decided to pursue a commercial-off-the-shelf solution. SITA put the new specifications out to tender in 2014 and again a year later. In 2016, Treasury announced Oracle had been awarded the contract.

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