TRACKER MEDIA STATEMENT: SAPS / Public Protector

Tracker notes the Public Protector’s findings in her investigation concerning the South African Police Service (SAPS) that the tender process which it followed prior to the award of contracts to Tracker was irregular and that Tracker, through its relationship with the SAPS, improperly benefits from the use of state resources.

No findings by the Public Protector against Tracker

It bears emphasis, at the outset, that the Public Protector specifically stated that she did not make any findings against Tracker.

The Public Protector's findings were made against the backdrop that Tracker has been awarded the contract for the provision of vehicle tracking technology to the SAPS in a series of open tender processes over the years.

Compliance with public procurement legislation 

In relation to the award of the contract for the provision of vehicle-tracking technology by the SAPS, the Public Protector found that the evaluation criteria contained in the SAPS bid documents for the 2008 and 2014 tenders did not specify the scoring, weights and qualifying score for functionality (“functionality” refers to the ability of a bidder to supply the goods or services in a manner that complies with the tender specifications). According to the Public Protector, this did not comply with public procurement legislation.

Tracker disagrees with this finding.  In particular, the Public Protector, in our view, did not place sufficient emphasis on the fact that the tender document specified various technical requirements which all bidders needed to meet.  Tracker was evidently the only bidder that met these requirements.

Competitiveness of the tenders

The Public Protector also found that the tenders were not sufficiently competitive on the basis that, had the SAPS received more than one compliant bid, the tenders would have been determined based on the black-economic empowerment (BEE) status of the compliant bidders. 

Tracker also disputes this finding.  It was appropriate that compliant bids would be assessed based on BEE and not price in this case, given that the SAPS tender documents made clear that the vehicle-recovery equipment and services were to be provided at no cost to the SAPS.

Tracker does not improperly benefit from state resources

Tracker disagrees with the Public Protector’s finding that Tracker “improperly benefits” from the use of state resources.  This needs to be viewed in the context of the findings in her report.  The Public Protector does not take issue with the fact that Tracker was the only compliant bidder in 2008 and 2014 and does not suggest that any of the other bidders should not have been disqualified by SAPS (or that the tender specifications were improper). 

While the Public Protector, correctly, notes that the SAPS utilises its personnel and resources to recover stolen or hijacked vehicles of Tracker’s clients, she does not place sufficient emphasis on the fact that the SAPS also works closely with other vehicle recovery companies to recover their clients’ vehicles.  Our technology makes SAPS more efficient and effective in fulfilling their constitutional and statutory obligation. The Public Protector also does not have sufficient regard to the fact that Tracker commits significant resources to performing under the SAPS contract.  And she goes on to direct the SAPS to engage with other service providers in the sector so as to encourage them to develop their technologies to meet the needs of the SAPS in order that they can also enter into agreements with the SAPS. 

That being the case, it is unfortunate, and in our view incorrect that the Public Protector suggests that the benefit which Tracker derives from its contract with the SAPS is “improper”.

Remedial action in the Public Protector's report

While Tracker is disappointed by the Public Protector’s findings, believes those findings to be flawed, and contends that its submissions were not properly taken into account, we have no difficulty with the remedial action contained in the report.  In particular, Tracker has consistently welcomed the SAPS’s efforts to partner with more than one vehicle-tracking service provider.  We are thus considering whether or not to take any action in relation to the report.

False allegations about Tracker 

Tracker is aware of a media report following the publication of the Public Protector's report where it is alleged that there is a finding that the contract between the SAPS and Tracker is unlawful.  This is false.  There is no such finding in the report, nor any finding of corruption or unlawfulness on Tracker's part.

Tracker is proud of its relationship with the SAPS and the significant impact that our involvement has had, at no cost to the SAPS, in combatting vehicle and related crime over the years.  We will endeavour to continue to work together with the SAPS in this vital area and intend to participate in the next SAPS tender process.

Please address  request for more information to media@tracker.co.za