The Association of Private Security Owners of South Africa (Tapsosa) made serious allegations regarding the R500 million Eskom security contract awarded to Fidelity Security Group.
During former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s tenure, the utility spent R500 million over three months for security services from Fidelity following a closed tender process.
The scope of the contract mainly focused on critical power stations, strategic corporate sites, and the transmission network.
De Ruyter is accused of flouting normal tender processes to approve the deal under the guise of emergency services procurement.
Eskom said the Fidelity Services security contract was in line with its procurement procedure and the National Treasury directives for emergency procurement of services.
The African Security Congress (ASC), in partnership with Tapsosa, was not convinced and threatened mass action against Eskom.
Tapsosa escalated its demands to the relevant Parliamentary oversight committees and the Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
“We want answers about the Fidelity Security Group contract. If answers are not forthcoming, heads must start to roll at Eskom,” ASC president Tebogo Motloung said.
Motloung called for the immediate suspension of Eskom’s head of security Karen Pillay. “She should not be under investigation and still working at Eskom,” he said.
On Thursday, Eskom placed Pillay on precautionary suspension “to allow space for the investigation on allegations levelled against her to continue unhindered.”
New revelations regarding Fidelity security contract
Tapsosa spokesperson Sindiswa Changuion said they started raising the alarm regarding the R500 million security contract in October 2022.
She called for people behind the contract, including Pillay, former CEO Andre de Ruyter, and former COO, Jan Oberholzer, to be held accountable.
“There was something very sinister about the process undertaken to award this R500 million security contract,” she said.
Changuion said they are particularly concerned that there was no tender process to award this large contract.
They also want an investigation into how the process took place and how an emergency procurement process was used to pick one provider – Fidelity Security Group.
Tapsosa wants details on what informed the decision to award the contract as an emergency procurement of services.
She said the answers they have from Eskom and National Treasury about the process are unsatisfactory.
Changuion further revealed why the large security contract raised red flags.
- There were private security providers on site that were already rendering the services, which Fidelity was paid R500 million to provide.
- There were consultations with security providers under the auspices that there was some intervention needed or extra security that had to be procured.
- It was impossible for Fidelity to implement all the security services Eskom paid for within the three-month contract period.
She said their organisation welcomes the actions taken by Eskom regarding the R500 million security contract.