Black woman-owned tech firm ICT Works has refuted allegations of irregular awarding of a contract and is mulling a legal step against the instigators of the claims, the South African National Treasury.
ICT-Works has noted with concern recent media coverage reflecting on the sitting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the committee’s pronouncements on matters surrounding the events related to the introduction of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) project that was launched by National Treasury.
The IFMS was intended to replace the ageing legacy systems of supply chain management, human resource management, financial management and business intelligence within the government.
The IFMS, which was approved by Cabinet in 2005, has cost the state over R1-billion.
Treasury Director General Dondo Mogajane on Wednesday night briefed members of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on a forensic report following an investigation into the Integrated Financial Management System, or IFMS – a project that has cost over R1bn and has not officially kicked off.
The investigation was conducted by Nexus Forensic Services, which Treasury commissioned in February.
The forensic firm recommended that the DG take action against implicated officials.
Contracts that were irregularly awarded resulted in irregular spend, Mogajane explained.
Nexus found that a contract was irregularly awarded to ICT-Works, which amounted to approximately R165 million in irregular spend.
“Our concerns are centred on National Treasury’s presentation that was delivered on 5 December 2018 and received wide media attention,” ICT-Works wrote in a half a page advert placed in the Sunday Times.
“ICT-Works totally rejects the contents of this report which refers to the role of our company in the IFMS projects,” reads the advert, which is only attributed to the company.
“In its present, inaccurate form, the report presents a threat to our day to day business, impacts our ability to operate in a competitive environment and undermines our future development.
“The draft report produced by Nexus Forensic Services, that has been tabled in the public domain, has impugned our reputation without according us the benefit of providing inputs or responding to any questions about our role in the IFMS project.”
The Nexus report found that contracts were irregularly awarded to ICT Works, resulting in R165-million in irregular spending. Nexus found that contracts were irregularly awarded to KPMG, Apex and Abacus, resulting in irregular spending of R69-million, R8.8-million and R28.4-million.
Another finding shows that three service providers — KPMG, Abacus and Barnstone — failed to declare an interest in bid documents for tenders. Nexus recommended that this is referred to law enforcement.
In the Sunday Times, paid advert ICT-Works said “it is determined that events that have impacted on its good name, its brand and standing within the wider business community, as well as it’s existing and potential customers, cannot go unchallenged.
“We continue to suffer substantial economic hardship due to the unilateral actions of National Treasury over the past 10 years.
“We are, therefore, committed to taking whatever action that is necessary, to protect and assert our rights, including litigation. To this end, we have already briefed our lawyers and will continue to monitor all developments within IFMS and mention of our company.”
ICT-Works was founded by Xolisa Kakana, an electrical engineer by profession.
The story began as an audacious dream when Xoliswa Kakana founded the company in 1999 with nothing more than an idea and her mother’s pension pay-out.
Fuelled by an unshakable passion for technology, Xoliswa took her vision and shaped it into a business that stands toe-to-toe with the largest players in the ICT world today.
Realizing the power of people very early, Xoliswa brought together like-minded women with complementary skills who shared her vision. Sindile Ncala and Margaret Sibiya joined as fellow shareholders and directors, building onto the foundation of growth through diversity.
Read the Advert Placed in The Sunday Times Below: