The Auditor-General report on Eastern Cape fleet management procurement shows gross irregularities in the tender deal. An investigation was requested by a joint resolution of all parties in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.
As a result of persistent probing by the Democratic Alliance at a preliminary joint portfolio committee meeting of Transport and Finance with the Auditor-General, it was revealed that the outcome of the awarding of the tender would have been different if the correct scoring procedure had been followed.
The Department of Transport needs to give an explanation why they assured the joint committee that the process had all been correctly followed when there were glaring irregularities.
1) The preferred bidder exceeded the affordability by R438 million and was appointed despite a lower bid by another bidder.
2) Neither of the two final bidders actually qualified to tender as a result of guarantee bond problems. The bond of the one bidder was valid for 107 days contrary to the 180 days required by the Request for Proposal (RFP). The bond of the other bidder was conditional, which was also not in accordance with the RFP.
3) The report revealed “inconsistencies in scoring” with more points being awarded above the maximum permissible allowed.
4) The Transaction Advisor did not properly question the SBEC (Special Bid Evaluation) and SBAC (Special Bid Adjudication Committee) point allocations.
5) None of the bid committees did their job excellently to produce fruitful results.
While the irregularities appear to be simple oversights, the question must be asked why this was overlooked by the responsible officials in the Department of Transport.
The DA this morning asked for an investigation surrounding the conduct of the Transaction Advisor. The committee has also decided to interrogate the MEC and all officials involved, to ascertain whether there was any criminality or negligence and whether monies should be paid back. The whole process will be re-investigated.
The DA will also continue campaigning for the transparency of tenders as is done in the Western Cape to stop future irregularities from happening again.
Editors: The AG report is available on request. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, please contact Dacre Haddon, MPL on 0796943788