May 19, 2020

Multi-Million Dollar Mispayments Issued to Abalozi Security in Gauteng

South Africa
Gauteng
Abalozi Security Risk Services
Jack Bloom
Bizclik Editor
2 min
Multi-Million Dollar Mispayments Issued to Abalozi Security in Gauteng
In Gauteng, South Africa, government leaders have been confronted about a contract between Abalozi Security and the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department. According to details from Jack Bloom, MPL, DA Gauteng Corruption Spokesman, Abalozi’s contract was terminated earlier this year after being paid R71 million since October of 2007. Bloom compiled the information in a written response to questions from former Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Bheki Nkosi. Abalozi Security is owned by the family of Siphiwe Nyada, the now former Communications Minister of Gauteng, and there is the possibility Nyada’s family company was chosen to better his own personal agenda financially. Of the overpayments to Abalozi, Bloom discloses that instead of paying just over R49,000 to Freedom Fighters Services to guard the Urban Transport Fund Command Centre, Abalozi was payed R410,000. The biggest discrepancy Bloom found was a payment of R747,000 to Abalozi for what he referred to as “g-Fleet risk assessment, fraud protection and forensic investigation” that has been eliminated altogether. The cancellation of the contract saves Gauteng about R2 million per month or about R24 million per year. Gauteng’s Public Protector urged Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to begin further investigation to any failures in the administration and improper conduct that may have led to the mistakes. This investigation could have major impact on businesses throughout South Africa as many companies have services specifically for the governments in the province. On the other hand, it could make officials more wary about who they choose to do business with and make sure business transactions are done fairly.

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

SAS
British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”

 

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