SAPS supplier threatens complete shutdown of police computer software

SAPS supplier threatens complete shutdown of police computer software

- Forensic Data Analysis (FDA) has warned that the SAPS software will be shutdown if payment is not received

- The services manage Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM) and the Firearm Permit System (FPS)

- Scopa and IPID recommended that the SAPS stop paying FDA in November 2017

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The company owned by former police officer turned businessman Keith Keating, issued a statement at about 19:50 on Wednesday evening, stating that on "Wednesday, 4 April 2018, at midnight, use of and access to proprietary licensed software and ancillary support services in respect of PCEM (Property Control and Exhibit Management) and FPS (Firearm Permit System) will unfortunately be suspended by FDA, unless an appropriate agreement could be reached with SAPS before system shutdown".

"The minister, SAPS and other stakeholders have been duly warned about the risks involved, but have acquiesced regardless of the impacts," it read. gathered the company, Forensic Data Analysis (FDA), has provided PCEM services to the police while the police did not pay any of the invoices issued to it from December 1 until March 31.

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"In respect of FPS, SITA (State Information Technology Agency) has on 31 October 2017 awarded a contract for three years to FDA, subject to the conclusion of a written agreement. FDA signed the written agreement provided to it by SITA. However, SITA has to the best of FDA's knowledge failed to sign the written agreement providing for FPS services from 1 November 2017," the statement read.

"Notwithstanding SITA's failure, FDA has rendered the FPS services since 1 November 2017 without any payment by SITA whatsoever. Although SITA has enjoyed the full benefit of services rendered by FDA since 1 November 2017, SITA has failed to make any payment to FDA."

SITA procures information technology for the state.

According to FDA, the police and SITA "unlawfully" withheld payment for services rendered, and have "reconciled themselves with the following imminent devastating effects resulting from their conduct".

According to FDA, the following can happen:

  1. Police officials may be unable to check in and out of duty;
  2. Police officers may be unable to lawfully possess or use firearms;
  3. Firearms and ammunition in possession of SAPS may not be accounted for during the suspension period;
  4. Police officials may be unable to access and manage evidence in the Forensic Science Laboratory;
  5. The chain of custody may be broken of millions of exhibits in the Forensic Science Laboratory;
  6. The NPA may be unable to remove evidence to be used in court proceedings; and
  7. South Africa may be in breach of certain international treaties involving Interpol and the United Nations.

"The above list is not exhaustive," the statement read.

IPID and Scopa recommended that the SAPS stop paying the FDA, and Scopa instructed SITA to cancel the contract with FDA.

The SAPS believe their systems are not in danger.

"FDA has a contract with SITA and the matter of payment or nonpayment should be discussed with them. As SAPS we are confident our systems will not be affected," police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said although such matters were not reported to him directly, he was aware of the situation. "What I know is that negotiations are underway," he told reporters.

The contracts with FDA and another Keating-linked company are believed to have taken place without following procurement processes.

Keating is also a central figure in the corruption case against former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane which is currently before the court. He allegedly paid for Phahlane's vehicles.

On February 28 this year Scopa said it "is appalled that a sole company owned by an ex-policeman can hold the whole country to ransom by threatening the collapse of the criminal justice system if the state cancels this contract".

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