BOSSES BACK TRANSPORT MEC: DAILY DISPATCH

ANC provincial bosses have thrown their weight behind Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu and her department over a controversially awarded R206-million scholar transport tender.

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the law had been followed to the letter.

He made the statements after Marawu submitted her report to the provincial leadership detailing how the scholar transport tender was awarded.

The tender caused a furore when awarded to One Future Development 46 without going through a competitive bidding process.

At the time the tender was awarded, claims were made that the company did not have a clearance certificate from the SA Revenue Service.

After it was awarded, about 86 disgruntled service providers took Marawu and her department to the Bhisho High Court to have the 18month contract set aside.

It was reported last week that the office of the public protector announced that its investigation into the tender would be completed in March 2012 after DA MPL Veliswa Mvenya asked for a probe.

Yesterday Mabuyane said Marawu’s report, submitted to the ANC, showed that the department flouted no legislation.

“We were shown other provisions in terms of legislation in case it (a required service) was urgent,” said Mabuyane.

He heaped praise on the Marawuled department for ensuring the scholar transport programme was re-introduced after it was stalled and taken from the education department.

“If they had failed to award the tender, there would not have been a scholar transport programme on July 18 when the schools reopened,” Mabuyane said.

“We believe that was a brave leadership decision to meet the deadline.”

Mabuyane took a swipe at the service providers that took the Bhisho government to court.

“Those who tried to engage by going to court were unfairly trying to ill-treat our government.”

Referring to the decision to only award the tender to Eastern Cape operators, he said the party was comforted by the fact the money would be spent in the province.

Asked about the public protector’s investigation, Mabuyane said: “We have not received anything. What we know is that the DA submitted [a complaint to the public protector asking it] to look at the matter.”

The disgruntled service providers could not be reached for comment, but their attorney, Thusile Mjulelwa of NZ Mtshabe Inc, said the Marawu report to the ANC did not clear anyone of wrongdoing.

“The departure point is whether or not the tender was awarded correctly,” Mjulelwa said.

He charged that the tender was awarded on July 16 to a company that only got tax clearance on July 27.

The DA’s Mvenya said: “The public protector has started the investigation, so the result will tell us who is wrong or right ….”