The true magnitude of the most lucrative security and intelligence tender in the history of the country is starting to emerge. Tender number DJS/MMTC/PPOL: 083/2014-2015, entitled Botswana Police Service Provision of a Safer City Solution would give the security and intelligence organizations an unprecedented access to the minutest of details of resident’s activities. It would also provide a solid platform on which emergency services can gain insight into situations around the city, and access emergency incidents in a more coordinated manner. A radius of around 50km around Gaborone would be under the attention of the most clear surveillance, according to details emerging from the tender documents which The Business Weekly & Review is in possession of. Officially under the supervision of the Botswana Police Service (BPS), the tender is, however, managed by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS).
Phase 1 of the project would entail installing the surveillance system around Gaborone and all its surburbs, a project estimated at around P3 billion, while the rest of the project it would cover Francistown, Lobatse, Phikwe and the peri-urban areas of Molepolole and Palapye-Serowe. The 3-part project will total approximately P10 billion according to the most conservative estimates.
According to some documents leaked to The Business Weekly & Review, the major aspects of the project would include CCTV Control, a Video Management System, Video Wall Management System, Automatic Number Plate Recognition and an Urban and Emergency Coordination System. Furthermore, it will include a Crisis Management Centre.
Cameras would be installed to monitor the roads, junctions and sensitive locations of the city like government buildings, hospitals etc. These would be able to note any unwelcome developments around those areas.
The company to be given the First Phase would have to leave in place a system equipped for the escalation to a more extensive, even national, network. “You can add cameras, workstations or any other component of the system anywhere on the network, at any time. Systems can grow from a single camera to tens of thousands of cameras, one camera at a time” adds another source.
Some of the major areas that have been pinpointed for surveillance are Government Enclave, government offices around the city such police stations, hospitals, major shopping centres such as the Central business District (CBD), Riverwalk, Game City, as well as streets in some surburbs such as Extension 12. An extensive list includes Taxi Rank, Main Mall, Rail Park Mall, Nelson Mandela Road, CBD, Airport, Old Lobate Road, Segoditshane road, Lemmenyane Road, Mogoditshane main streets and Block 6 streets.
“In short we could be able to follow you driving from Otse, coming past Mokolodi, into Gaborone, and all the way through the city, out through Phakalane, and past Phakalane” explains one of the originators of the project.
The cameras should be able to provide clear images during the day and night. “Precision pan/ tilt mechanism gives operators accurate pointing control while providing fully programmable scan patterns functionality” states one technical report.
The Safe City tender came to prominence recently when businessman Monty Chiepe and his enstranged business partners in security company, Noroc Technologies, Temo Tau and Frederick Mathibe, exchanged threats over a BDP tender the company won in the lead up to last year’s General Elections.
Noroc Technologies (PTY) Ltd, alongside Moon Stone Capital (PTY) Ltd and Defence Concepts (PTY) Ltd had all reportedly tendered for the lucrative project.
Noroc Technologies, according to the Registrar of Companies Botswana, is a company collectively owned by Temo Tau and Tau Moroka with shares at 90 percent and 10 percent respectively. It has entered into a partnership with Mer Systems, an Israeli based company which provides “turnkey safety, security and communications projects to governmental authorities, municipalities, military forces and private organizations throughout the world”, as cited by Mer System group official site.
The system integrator specializes in complex large-scale projects that require a high level of engineering and integration expertise, combined with outstanding operational and logistic capabilities. The merger is expected to tip the balance in favor of Noroc Technologies, operating under the directorship of Robert Tlhagwane, Frederick Mathibe and Phenyo Fets.
Defence Concepts which has been embroiled in public scandals over tenders it won at the DISS teamed up with Feather Brook, also another Israeli based company.
On another hand, Moon Stone, also whistling for the tender acquisition will rub shoulders with Huawei: a global leader of ICT solutions Founded in 1987. Official site highlighted that Huawei telecom network equipment, IT products and solutions, and smart devices are used in 170 countries and regions. Moon Stone Capital, wholly owned by Moilwa Moswele who assumed the company shares transferred from previous shareholders Blocks IT Solutions (PTY) Ltd and Kalayamodimo Family Trust in March 2010 as indicated by Registrar of Companies Botswana. As it appears Moon Stone was trading as Blocks IT Solutions before the transactions were made. The company which aims on providing consultancy services on IT services is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in the Botswana market.
Information from their website reveals that the supplier of software and hardware holds “Microsoft competencies in Volume Licensing, Server Platform, Management & Virtualization and Collaboration & Content”. Registrar of Companies disclosed that the company is directed by Kalayamotho Mercy but was previously owned by Tsotetsi Pretty, Gao Yuefi and Moilwa Moswele.
Botswana Telecommunication Corporations, on the verge of privatization has also tendered its bid for the lucrative acquisition.
“When it is complete, it will be perfectly possible for security agents to be able to hear and watch any conversation unfold, in any major street in this country” warns an insider. The complete project will be implemented in stages, from Gaborone, to Francistown and then other major areas of Botswana.
There are allegations within the security and intelligence circles that a security company, with connections to a former minister and a high ranking intelligence chief, had already been given the tender.