Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recently found a longstanding tender between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and vehicle-tracking company Tracker to be “improper”.
For the last 21 years, Tracker has provided SAPS with tracking systems for use in their vehicles – an arrangement which Mkhwebane said constitutes inappropriate use of state resources.
“The allegation that the agreements entered into between SAPS and Tracker results in Tracker improperly benefiting from state resources is substantiated,” Mkhwebane said in her report.
As a part of her findings, Mkhwebane recommended that SAPS appoint other vehicle tracking service providers in addition to Tracker.
Tracker disputes the report
Tracker disagreed with the Public Protector’s findings, stating that the tender process was not irregular.
“Tracker disagrees with the Public Protector’s finding that Tracker “improperly benefits” from the use of state resources,” the company said in a statement.
“The Public Protector’s findings were made against the backdrop that Tracker has been awarded the contract for the provision of vehicle tracking technology to SAPS in a series of open tender processes over the years.”
Tracker said that with regards to the 2008 and 2014 tender bids, it was the only bidder which adequately met the requirements.
“The Public Protector does not take issue with the fact that Tracker was the only compliant bidder in 2008 and 2014 and does not suggest that any of the other bidders should not have been disqualified by SAPS (or that the tender specifications were improper). ”
The company added that while the Public Protector is correct about SAPS using its personnel and resources to recover stolen or hijacked vehicles of Tracker’s clients, the police also works closely with other vehicle recovery companies to recover their clients’ vehicles.
Making SAPS better
“Our technology makes SAPS more efficient and effective in fulfilling their constitutional and statutory obligation,” Tracker said.
“The Public Protector also does not have sufficient regard to the fact that Tracker commits significant resources to performing under the SAPS contract.”
Tracker added that it is incorrect for the Public Protector to suggest that the benefit it derives from its deal with SAPS is “improper”.
The company also said that it would have no problem serving SAPS in conjunction with other tracking companies, and has always welcomed this proposition.
“While Tracker is disappointed by the Public Protector’s findings, believes those findings to be flawed, and contends that its submissions were not properly taken into account, we have no difficulty with the remedial action contained in the report,” Tracker said.
“In particular, Tracker has consistently welcomed SAPS’s efforts to partner with more than one vehicle-tracking service provider.”
“Tracker is proud of its relationship with SAPS and the significant impact that our involvement has had, at no cost to the SAPS, in combatting vehicle and related crime over the years.”