The Eastern Cape transport MEC and the national executive member of ANC Women’s League, Weziwe Tikana has been caught in the web of an alleged R4.5 million purchase of “smartpens”.

Weziwe Tikana found herself at the centre of high-tech purchase controversy which took place while Tikana was an official at the province’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs department.

This was revealed to the members of the provincial legislature’s standing committee on public accounts on Monday, by the transport department acting head Ngaka Mosehana.

The report said Weziwe Tikana requested procurement of smartpens for community development workers to use in relaying information in a flash from families needing social grants or housing to the department’s database.

The Smart Pens were however never used neither were they given to the workers. The 320 pens are still piled up at the department’s head office in Bisho.

The pens have tiny infrared cameras and Bluetooth wireless technology to convert handwritten information into digital data. They can also take pictures.

The R4.5m high-tech purchase included an annual subscription fee of R766,080 to be paid for three years and a monthly Vodacom airtime bill of R76,000 to be paid for three years.

The department signed a 36-month contract with a private company from March 2013 to provide and maintain these pens.

Ngaka Mosehana claimed the purchase of the smartpens was the subject of a forensic investigation expected to be completed by December

The case is being investigated alongside the spending of R109, 000 on printing digital forms without following procurement processes. The auditor-general has found this spending to be fruitless and wasteful by the auditor-general.