The Auditor-General has cleared the Department of Communications (DoC) and Minster Dina Pule of wrongdoing relating to the recent ICT Indaba, which will probably become an annual event.

According to a statement issued by the department, the concept of the ICT Indaba was proposed by Carol Bouwer Designs (CBD) is August 2010.

“The DoC saw value in the proposal and then established an internal committee to work towards hosting such an event,” the statement reads. “To assist in making this event a reality R10-million was committed to secure the venue, conference speakers, the audio systems and interpreters. The rest of the funds were expected to be raised from sponsors.  To aid the securing of sponsorships, endorsement letters were also issued as is required by the industry.”

Carol Bouwer and Phosane Mngqibisa had met previously at private and state functions, and Mngqibisa was asked to present his credentials to Bouwer, who found them suitable enough to partner with him for the ICT Indaba, according to the statement.

“Due process in line with procurement policies and processes as prescribed by National Treasury were followed in appointing Carol Bouwer Designs as the service provider for the ICT Indaba 2012,” it says. “These guidelines are contained in the Practice Note SCM 11 of 2008. As expected for a project of this magnitude Carol Bouwer Designs duly submitted a preliminary close-out report and an audited report on the finances to the DoC.

“The Auditor General report will be available at the end of August 2012, with the release of the annual report. The report found that the Minister and all the officials of the DoC followed proper processes and procedures in engaging the service provider and in executing the Indaba.

“The Minister believes it is important that the ICT Indaba be seen for what it was – an opportunity for South Africa to create a positive legacy for the continent and its people. The event attracted R16,3-million worth of positive global publicity, and has helped position South Africa as being at the forefront of driving access to ICT in Africa.”

A first of its kind, the event attracted 1 500 delegates, among them ICT experts, 17 ICT ministers from across Africa, and 89 international media organisations. They discussed ways Africa could claim its place in the technology revolution and use ICT to achieve developmental goals.