Gi­gaba ‘look­ing into’ con­tro­ver­sial IFMS ten­der

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Adri Senekal de Wet Note from the ed­i­tor

THE NA­TIONAL Trea­sury has awarded the In­te­grated Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment Sys­tems (IFMS) ten­der to US-based multi­na­tional com­puter cor­po­ra­tion Or­a­cle.

In­dus­try sources this week told Busi­ness Re­port (BR) that the ten­der was awarded to Or­a­cle “some­time last year”.

The ten­der has been a source of spec­u­la­tion, with in­sid­ers claim­ing it needed to be in­ves­ti­gated.

“The mat­ter is be­ing looked into and fur­ther de­tails will be shared once it has been con­cluded,” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba said yes­ter­day.

IT Web re­ported in May 2014 that the IFMS project was con­ceived in 1998 and ap­proved by the cabi­net in 2005.

“It was a Na­tional Trea­sury-led joint ini­tia­tive with the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the State IT Agency (Sita),” IT Web said at the time.

“Its ob­jec­tive was to re­place the nu­mer­ous dis­parate, in­ad­e­quate and/or out­dated sys­tems em­ployed through­out the pub­lic sec­tor.”

It is clear to BR that the IFMS ini­tia­tive turned out still to be a con­stant source of con­tro­versy, at­tract­ing crit­i­cism on the sys­tem ar­chi­tec­ture, part­ner and/ or so­lu­tion se­lec­tions, top-level project strat­egy and man­age­ment, oper­a­tional plan­ning and over­sight, and the fea­si­bil­ity of the stated ob­jec­tives and dead­lines. Noth­ing has changed since IT Web pub­lished its ar­ti­cle.

BR re­search on the IFMS ten­der can be sum­marised by var­i­ous head­lines spread over many years: “Sita taken to task over IFMS ten­der”; “Ac­cen­ture snares govern­ment fi­nance sys­tem”; “Con­tro­ver­sial Sita ten­der reis­sued”; “SAP wins R800m IFMS deal”; “Small firm grabs IFMS ten­der (ICT Works)”.

But on Au­gust 4 last year a short state­ment was re­leased by the Trea­sury: “The Na­tional Trea­sury has con­cluded the con­tract with Or­a­cle Cor­po­ra­tion to pur­chase soft­ware li­cences.

“The soft­ware li­cences re­late to the In­te­grated Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment Sys­tem (IFMS) pro­gramme. It brings govern­ment closer to fully im­ple­ment­ing a 2005 cabi­net de­ci­sion to re­place legacy sys­tems for man­ag­ing sup­ply chain, hu­man re­sources and fi­nance func­tions with a mod­ern in­te­grated sys­tem that will im­prove ser­vice delivery.

“The suc­cess­ful pur­chase of the soft­ware li­cences paves the way for the next steps in the process, which will in­clude com­plet­ing the cen­tralised de­sign of the IFMS so­lu­tion, plan­ning and procur­ing the hard­ware (in­clud­ing host­ing in­fra­struc­ture) as well as soft­ware im­ple­men­ta­tion ser­vices.”

Var­i­ous sources con­tacted yes­ter­day said they were aware that “mil­lions have been paid to both SAP and Or­a­cle”.

One has to ques­tion what has been de­liv­ered against th­ese con­tracts. Is it soft­ware to the amount of R450 mil­lion? It is also in­ter­est­ing that senior man­agers pre­vi­ously em­ployed by Sita are now be­ing em­ployed by Or­a­cle.

Another source said openly: “It is im­pos­si­ble to get any IT con­tract in govern­ment with­out pay­ing se­ri­ous kick­backs, and if the right busi­ness groups are not in­volved.”

BR will in­ves­ti­gate the IFMS ten­der fur­ther.

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