Eastern Cape MEC embroiled in R4.5 million “smartpens” tender scandal

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Eastern Cape MEC for Weziwe Tikana has been accused of being involved in a tender scandal involving R4.5 million being spent on “digital smartpens ” that have never been used.

Tikana, who is also ANC Women’s League NEC member, allegedly requested the digital smartpens be purchased while she was still an official at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the province, according to The Herald.

The pens, equipped with infrared tech and Bluetooth, can reportedly transfer information about poor families needing social funding from government to the province’s database very quickly, by converting handwriting on a digital form into digitally transferable info.

The R4.5 million tender had been issued to a private company in March 2013, saw 320 pens being bought, a three-year subscription agreement signed for  R766 080 a year and R76 000 worth of Vodacom airtime being bought every month.

The pens are yet to be used and are reportedly lying in storage.

Tikana has admitted she requested the pens’ purchase, but denied being involved in the tendering process.

The scandal is currently under forensic investigation and will reportedly be completed next month.