Nothing irregular about police rental deal - Public Works

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pretoria - There was nothing irregular about the lease agreement for the Pretoria building that the South African Police Services (SAPS) headquarters is expected to move to.

This is according to the Department of Public Works (DPW), which has refuted allegations by the media that Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele flouted regulations by signing a deal worth hundreds of millions to move police to the new building without the deal going out to tender.

In a statement on Monday, the department slammed the newspaper reports saying it was "driven by expediency of deadlines than the professional credo to reflect all the sides to the argument".

DPW clarified that line departments, including the SAPS did not sign leases with landlords.

"...this is the mandate of the DPW as the landlord of the state, so it was inaccurate to imply that General Cele signed a lease with anyone," the statement said.

Cele, as the Accounting Officer responsible, signed an accommodation needs assessment of the SAPS for the DPW's implementation, the department added.

"Client department's responsibilities are to sign needs assessments as well as funding certificates confirming the availability of funding for their needs. This authorises the DPW to start the process of procurement," the statement continued.

The department said no procurement processes were flouted even though no tenders were awarded as the approach followed by the department was a "negotiated approach" which was completely legal.

"This means that the DPW received urgent needs from the SAPS in this instance, after which it became key that DPW approaches this in a negotiated fashion as provided by the relevant supply chain management prescripts of government. The issue of other bidders therefore falls away," the statement read.

As a growing service, the SAPS needed additional accommodation and it was for this reason that the DPW had acquired the Middestad Sanlam Centre in the Pretoria Central Business District as an addition to the Wachthuis building, where the SAPS is currently housed, DPW added.

"According to a signed lease agreement, the client was expected to occupy the additional Pretoria space anytime as from the 1 November 2010, essentially meaning that both leases (i.e for Wachthuis & Middestad) will run concurrently at market-related rental," the department said.