Deputy mayor makes extraordinary allegations, write Rochelle de Kock and Gareth Wilson
Explosive allegations of cyber theft and hacking of confidential information pertaining to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality are being investigated by the police. It forms part of the four cases opened by deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani against senior metro officials, city manager Johann Mettler and acting corporate services boss Vuyo Zitumane, two weeks ago.
In his statement to the police, Bobani claims that a firm was hired illegally to replace a Port Elizabeth security firm – Afrisec Strategic Solutions – which had been in charge of monitoring and maintaining the municipality’s CCTV system for the beleaguered bus system (IPTS).
After cutting ties with Afrisec, a new service provider was appointed – Deltron Consulting – to audit all the municipal equipment which was still in Afrisec’s possession.
This, as Afrisec is embroiled in a legal dispute with the municipality over R92.4-million the city believes should not have been paid.
Bobani claimed in his statement to the police that Deltron was not hired through proper procurement processes in December.
He alleged that the metro’s political head of safety and security, councillor John Best, admitted in an executive committee meeting that Deltron had “hacked” into Afrisec’s network and taken personal information off the municipal servers.
Both Best and Deltron have vehemently denied the claims.
Deltron Consulting chief executive Chris Ndlovu said his company had been hired by the attorneys contracted to the municipality, Lulama Prince & Associates, to audit all the municipal equipment that was stored by Afrisec.
“While we were doing the audit process that we have been mandated to do, the municipality asked us to assist with the odd jobs relating to their integrated security systems,” Ndlovu said.
“At the end of January, they told me that what we were doing was not in our scope of work and that it had not been approved.
“They [the metro] owe me in the region of R3-million, which has still not been paid.”
Ndlovu was surprised by the allegations of hacking and information theft, saying the police had not contacted him as yet. Best said part of Deltron’s duties was to look at information on the servers, naturally allowing them access to municipal data.
Mettler said Deltron had been appointed as a sub-contractor by a service provider of the municipality.
“[It] was charged with the physical verification and audit of IPTS-related equipment.”
Mettler said Deltron had been paid R636 880 thus far for the work they had done.