Kathy Gibson reports from GovTech in Durban – SITA has sent a strong message about fraud and corruption to ICT vendors involved in the government space.
Today, SITA's acting-CEO Moses Mtimunye pointed out that ICT acquisition – and the huge figures involved – opens itself up to fraud and corruption, but moves are afoot to root out dishonest practices by both SITA employees and ICT industry players.
"In its 10 years of existence SITA has spent about R10-billion on ICT," he says. "This is very lucrative and there is a lot of shenanigans that can play themselves out in the tussle for a piece of this cake."
However, while a number of allegations have been leveled against SITA, Mtimunye says the ICT industry has to take some of the responsibility.
"Corruption requires two parties – it takes two to tango," he says. "The ICT industry has been playing victim for too long. When people lay allegations about SITA, they never say who is involved – it is always just SITA.
"It is time the truth was told."
During the 2008/2009 year, 32 disciplinary hearings were held at SITA, with 72 suspected irregularities having been investigated. Since 2004, there have been 230 suspected irregularities.
"There is a notion that where corruption or fraud occurs, the ICT industry is an innocent victim," says Mtimunye – a perception he is keen to dispel.
While no SITA employees have yet been disciplined about fraud and corruption, he says there are currently three cases pending which could result in criminal charges.
SITA is changing its internal processes to help eliminate corruption – or a perception of corruption.
It has adopted a zero-tolerance attitude to fraud and corruption, says Mtimunye. People are urged to report irregularities to the relevant authority, such as the DPSA, the Public Protector or SITA's own anti-corruption hotline.
SITA has also developed and implemented a "covenant of integrity" that will apply to bidders or goods and services.
"The ICT industry, including SITA, is urged to voluntarily participate in anti-corruption programmes with the DPSA," Mtimunye says. "And ICT industry associations are urged to expel their members who are ruining the industry's reputation.
"At its core, ICT acquisition must focus on delivering services to citizens, not on who makes the most money."