USAASA, SAPO dealings with Bosasa revealed

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Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

While the telecommunications and communications departments had no contractual ties with Bosasa, two of its entities contracted services from the now-infamous company.

This information came to light in minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams's response to a Democratic Alliance Parliamentary question querying whether her department, or entities reporting to her, contracted the services of Bosasa in the past 10 financial years.

Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, has been the subject of corruption allegations exposed during the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The company's former chief operating officer, Angelo Agrizzi, testified the company made dodgy payments to key officials in exchange for billions of rands worth of government tenders.

It has been further alleged that several members of Parliament, including Cabinet ministers, benefited from security systems installed at their homes by Bosasa.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said her department informed her that the Universal Service and Access Agency of SA (USAASA) and South African Post Office (SAPO) had each signed one contract with Bosasa.

According to the reply, USAASA signed its Bosasa contract on 29 August 2014, while the SAPO contract was signed on 6 December 2004.

"USAASA signed the contract for a duration of 36 months. SAPO's contract was for a duration of two years, with extensions after the original period until March 2010.

"Bosasa provided ICT equipment and ICT services to schools, public access centres and public address areas for USAASA. At SAPO, guarding services were rendered by Bosasa."

Irregular spend

In terms of irregular expenditure, Ndabeni-Abrahams's reply indicated USAASA had an irregular expenditure of R737 437.50 with regard to Bosasa.

"The irregular expenditure relates to the contract extension beyond 15% threshold without National Treasury approval. USAASA indicated the amount is not yet condoned."

SAPO had no irregular expenditure with regards to the Bosasa contract, it has been revealed.

"USAASA indicated three purchase orders were issued to the value of R5 615 021.30, SAPO indicated the total monetary value of the contract was not indicated as this was a rate-based contract and the total spent during the period was R10 193 035.56."

Before Ndabeni-Abrahams' appointment last November, the communications ministry operated as two departments, the Department of Communications (DOC) and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS).

As part of the separation, the state entities that would fall under the "new" DOC included SABC, the Independent Communications Authority of SA, Government Communication and Information Systems and Brand SA.

Six state-owned companies reporting to the DTPS are: Broadband Infraco, Sentech, State IT Agency, USAASA, National Electronic Media Institute of SA and SAPO.

With the merger of the ministries in progress and Ndabeni-Abrahams at the helm, the communications ministry has been mandated by president Cyril Ramaphosa to lead SA's fourth industrial revolution efforts.

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