Altech wins South African police tender

Allied Technologies Ltd. (Altech) subsidiary, Alcom Systems, has been awarded the South African Police Service (SAPS) tender for the supply, delivery, installation, commissioning and testing of a complete digital Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) communications network system for Gauteng.

The contract, the largest radio communications contract ever awarded on the African continent, is valued in excess of Rand 500 million (US$74 million), and will be allocated over the three-year period of the roll-out. Altech is a JSE Securities Exchange telecommunications, multi-media and ICT group, while its subsidiary, Alcom Systems, recently re-named Alcom Matomo, has a 30-year track record of providing integrated communications systems supplied by its principal, Motorola.

Last year the Altech group’s 100 per cent-owned subsidiary, Alcom Systems, concluded a significant black empowerment deal, which involved the sale of 30 per cent of its business to the Matomo ICT Group to form Alcom Matomo.

In a statement released in Johannesburg today, Altech CEO, Craig Venter, said he applauded the SAPS’, and, therefore, the government’s decision to support a local company, as well as a “black-empowered” company.

“The creation of employment, the development of skills and the promotion of black empowerment will certainly benefit the overall SA economy,” he added. However, he stated that Alcom Matomo would never have been awarded the contract as a local company had it not proved within the tender process that its sophisticated technologies and capabilities were of the very best global standards.

“In awarding this tender to Alcom Matomo, government has reinforced its commitment to SA business, and has sent yet another clear message that local businesses should indeed fully embrace and support its empowerment imperatives,” said Venter.

He said he was confident that Alcom Matomo would fully meet the standards required by the contract. “The company recently successfully installed a Tetra system for the City of Cape Town. This multi-million rand project was the first Tetra public safety system in Africa,” he continued.

Venter said the Motorola solution was also currently being deployed in many countries, including a U.K.-wide system for the British police. “Further proof of the technological excellence of this communications solution is that Motorola was recently awarded the contract for the provision of a Tetra system for the 2004 Olympic Games being held in Athens,” he added.

“It is my belief that a single integrated communications system, such as the digital Tetra system, is an imperative for all of SA’s emergency services,” said Venter. “The ability to communicate between the police, fire, ambulance and hospital services is critical in times of major emergencies and disasters. I believe that this was aptly proved in the USA during the Sept. 11 disaster, when all emergency services and rescue operations were coordinated by means of a single communications system. I believe that, if this had not been the case, many more lives would have been lost.”

Thozamile Botha, executive chairman of the Matomo Group, which has the 30 per cent stake in Alcom Matomo, says the contract was hopefully the first of many more for the partnership. “This was the second major SA contract awarded for this advanced digital communications technology,” adds Botha, “and bodes well for a future where possibly only one integrated communications system will be deployed to uplift emergency service provision throughout SA.” He says the standardization of private radio communication technology, using Tetra, was critical to the future success of coordinated emergency services and community safety throughout the country.

Botha adds that he had always had the greatest of confidence in Alcom Matomo’s high level of engineering and integration strengths, and that he was extremely proud to be sharing such a major contract with the Altech group.

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