The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) is due to make its recommendations to the National Treasury soon about whether information technology services company EOH should be blacklisted from participating in State tenders.
In response, EOH on July 6 reiterated its stance that it has treated the agency “in the same transparent manner” with which the company has engaged all affected stakeholders during the ENSAfrica-led forensic investigation into the company.
The company said it has, to date, been “following the due process as set out by the SITA” and that it is similar to other processes the company has completed with other stakeholders.
However, owing to the matter garnering media attention, EOH confirmed that correspondence was sent to the acting caretaker Luvuyo Keyise on March 5, 2019, and again on April 20, 2021, explaining the extensive remediation and governance enhancement work implemented within EOH by the new EOH board and management.
The receipt of these communications was acknowledged, EOH said, and, considering that the company had “anticipated this action”, it explained that this was the reason why the company had approached the SITA with the information “just weeks after” the start of the ENSAfrica investigation in March 2019.
EOH said it had kept the agency up to date thus far, hence its surprise at receiving a letter from the SITA on June 21, which intimated that SITA would consider restricting EOH from doing business with the public sector based on Nexia SAB&T’s forensic audit report to Parliament on the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) ABIS project.
“It is also important to note that our legal counsel have advised that the SITA can only recommend restricting EOH from doing business with the Public Sector, and this has been confirmed by the National Treasury,” the company said.
However, it added that should the SITA recommend restriction to the National Treasury, “EOH has the right to representation, as well as taking the matter on appeal”.
Given what EOH has achieved in the past two years, the company’s legal counsel believes it has “a very strong case against any blacklisting”.
EOH group CEO Stephen van Coller said the company’s current management team and board of directors “have spent a significant amount of time rebuilding EOH's credibility, driving transparency in the business and ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the financial information disclosed to stakeholders, while continuing to resolve the remaining inherited legacy issues”.
When the corruption scandal broke early in February 2019, the new leadership of EOH approached its customers, partners, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), the National Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) on what EOH needed to do in order not to be blacklisted.
This, the company said, “was paramount to saving as many of the jobs in EOH as possible”.
The new leadership also employed the services of ENSafrica and Rothschilds to advise them on the best way forward.
The new leadership embarked on over 100 man-hours of presentations and meetings with authorities, regulators, customers, partners and financial institutions to explain its situation.
“In all instances we were given the green light to continue as is, although in some cases we needed to show continual improvement. This process is largely over now,” EOH said in its statement.