‘Shady’ firm bids to stay on

Hun­dreds of jobs on the line over se­cu­rity con­tract

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - NOKUTHULA NTULI • nokuthula.ntuli@wit­ness.co.za

KHUSELANI Se­cu­rity & Risk Man­age­ment (KSA) has bid for Msun­duzi’s se­cu­rity ten­der even though the City ter­mi­nated its pre­vi­ous con­tract over al­le­ga­tions of fraud.

In Jan­uary, Msun­duzi is­sued a no­tice to ter­mi­nate its multi-mil­lion rand con­tract with KSA over al­le­ga­tions that more than 10 counts of fraud were com­mit­ted by KSA, in­clud­ing sub­mit­ting six false doc­u­ments as well as over­charg­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

How­ever, the City and KSA later agreed that the con­tract would only be of­fi­cially ter­mi­nated at the end of this month (April) since the mu­nic­i­pal­ity needed time to ap­point a new ser­vice provider.

The KSA con­tract was to be ended fol­low­ing damn­ing find­ings by the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit, which was di­rected by for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions of fraud and non-com­pli­ance re­lated to the se­cu­rity ten­ders at Msun­duzi.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with The Wit­ness, KSA’s di­rec­tor Ma­homed Ya­coob de­nied the al­le­ga­tions, say­ing his com­pany never acted un­law­fully dur­ing the 2009 and 2013 bid­ding pro­cesses.

The com­pany pro­vided se­cu­rity guards, body­guards and an armed re­sponse unit, which cost the City ap­prox­i­mately R7 mil­lion a month.

He con­firmed that KSA is also bid­ding for the new con­tract and is con­fi­dent the com­pany will get it. The ten­der closed on Fe­bru­ary 23 but the con­tract is yet to be awarded.

“KSA be­lieves that there is no rea­son it shouldn’t be suc­cess­ful. We haven’t been found guilty on any of the al­le­ga­tions made.

“We hope there is no po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in the award­ing of the ten­der be­cause it should be a clean and fair process,” said Ya­coob.

He said the ad­ju­di­ca­tion of the ten­der is giv­ing him sleep­less nights as 750 guards are at risk of los­ing their jobs if KSA fails to se­cure a new con­tract with Msun­duzi.

“It might be 750 peo­ple who will be un­em­ployed but each of them sup­port fam­i­lies of at least five peo­ple, so there are more peo­ple that are go­ing to suf­fer be­cause of this.

“The sad part is that some of the guards are old and no one is go­ing to want to em­ploy them be­cause they are close to re­tire­ment,” said Ya­coob.

He said if KSA does not get the con­tract they will try and ne­go­ti­ate with the new ser­vice provider to se­cure em­ploy­ment for the guards.

“It weighs heav­ily on me be­cause they [guards] are re­ally good at their jobs but now they are fac­ing un­em­ploy­ment be­cause they are with KSA,” he said.

Ya­coob said if there are de­lays in award­ing the ten­der, his hope is that Msun­duzi will ex­tend the con­tract from month to month.

He said KSA has suf­fered se­vere rep­u­ta­tional dam­age be­cause of the con­tro­ver­sial con­tract with Msun­duzi and there are fears that they could lose out on other busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties. He said the com­pany has in ex­cess of 4 000 guards around the coun­try pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity to pri­vate com­pa­nies and prop­er­ties be­long­ing to cities such as Cape Town and Dur­ban, but it is the Msun­duzi con­tract that is al­ways in the press.

Ya­coob said con­trary to what has been re­ported in the me­dia, KSA has never flouted any reg­u­la­tion or bribed any­one dur­ing the bid­ding for any of its mul­ti­ple con­tracts.

“Un­for­tu­nately we have to go to court to fight the al­le­ga­tions made against us. It’s costly but there is noth­ing we can do be­cause we have to pro­tect our rep­u­ta­tion. For­tu­nately, we have been suc­cess­ful in our past le­gal bat­tles,” he said.

Pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary of the SA Trans­port and Al­lied Work­ers’ Union (Satawu) Edgar Mbina said they are en­gag­ing with KSA and hope that they can save the guards’ jobs.

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