GijimaAst, a major service provider on the 'Who am I Online' contract for the Department of Home Affairs, has welcomed the Auditor-General's probe into the project.
On Friday, Thoko Mnyango, managing executive: marketing, communications & transformation at GijimaAst, issued the following statement:
"GijimaAst welcomes the fact that the Auditor-General's report on the WAIO contract may be released soon. We believe the report, if it has addressed all the key issues, will put this matter to bed, so that all involved can focus on ensuring a world-class set of systems is put in place for the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), to the benefit of all South African citizens and those who visit our country.
"It is important to note that, as a service provider on this contract, GijimaAst is not directly implicated in the two key issues at stake – namely allegations around the adjudication process, and the alleged escalation in the cost of meeting DHA's requirements. This may explain why GijimaAst has to date not been interviewed by the AG or SITA or any other government institution on this tender contract.
"Nevertheless, we believe it is in everyone's interest that there is full transparency and that all allegations and innuendos are addressed. The allegations leveled by the DHA Portfolio Committee are serious, and have a direct impact on the reputations of all involved, in particular GijimaAst. Anything less than a complete investigation could prejudice all involved, and innocent parties may be perceived to be guilty by association."
In the statement, Mnyango says that, as a service provider committed to good corporate governance, GijimaAst believes there are three key issues which need to be fully addressed by the Auditor-General's report:
* Was there any impropriety in the evaluation and award of the tender by Mavuso Msimang (then SITA CEO and now DHA DG) and Jonas Bogoshi (then SITA Exec and now CEO of GijimaAst) or any official of SITA or DHA?
* Is there any impropriety in the increase of the contract price and or why has the price escalated?
* What has been the role of senior management at Home Affairs and SITA during the tender process, and why did it take over a year for the Director-General of Home Affairs to finally award the tender after SITA's recommendation for an award?
"We would like to stress that GijimaAst will continue to implement the WAIO quick-win priority projects relating to the Fifa Confederations Cup," the statement adds. "The company remains committed to implementing this complex multi-country project on time and within budget so that DHA can fulfill our Government's undertaking to Fifa long before the June 2010 World Cup kickoff."