SAPS wanted to pay R45 million for cellphone spy hardware to fund Zuma

The SA Police Service (SAPS) planned to purchase a “cellphone grabber” for an inflated price of R45 million in a corrupt deal, according to a report in the City Press.

A cellphone grabber is a powerful eavesdropping device which works by accessing the nearest cellphone tower and its cellular connections, letting it intercept 10,000 phone lines simultaneously within a 3km radius.

Court papers filed at the North Gauteng High Court show that former adviser to the police minister Bongani Mbindwane met with SAPS crime intelligence officers just before the ANC’s national conference, urging them to go ahead with the R45-million deal.

According to the report, cellphone grabbers are available for purchase for anywhere between R7 million and R10 million – and the excess funds in the SAPS deal were allegedly meant to be used to buy voters for Jacob Zuma at the elective conference.

Court papers

The court papers were filed by Ipid head Robert McBride, who also claimed that video evidence of the meeting existed.

Former police minister Fikile Mbalula has distanced himself from the alleged meeting, stating that it was not held under his directive.

Tensions in the ANC remain following the ousting of Zuma – with president Cyril Ramaphosa taking over leadership of the party and the country.

There are reported to be camps in the ANC which are still loyal to Zuma and want him to retake the leadership of the party.

Police deals

The SAPS has come under fire in recent years for dodgy deals, which include its difficulty in managing its IT systems and its irregularly-priced purchase of bulletproof vests.

The police’s cybercrime unit was forced to cease investigations into hundreds of cases due to expired software licences.

This nonpayment of software licences greatly hindered the police’s ability to investigate illegal online activities such as hacking and EFT scams.

The SAPS also spent R6.7 million on 200 high-tech bulletproof vests, making the police service the buyer of the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world.

Now read: South Africa’s public sector wage bill compared to the US, UK, and China

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SAPS wanted to pay R45 million for cellphone spy hardware to fund Zuma