Dacre Haddon in Alice
Caption: Sticking to his guns...Things got heated in Alice on Wednesday when legislature leader Bobby Stevenson jumped up to defend colleague Dacre Haddon from a barrage of interjections. Haddon scratched a definite nerve while going for the jugular in the debate on the Eastern Cape fleet tender fiasco. In the ensuing chaos he refused to take his seat as he rightly believed his time had not yet expired. The tough stand taken by the DA is only equalled by their determination to root out the culprits responsible for the fleet tender debacle.

The Democratic Alliance will not allow the Eastern Cape’s R3.2 billion fleet management tender fiasco to be swept under the carpet, transport portfolio committee member Dacre Haddon told the Legislature this week.

“The DA welcomes the resolution by the provincial Portfolio Committee that further remedial steps be undertaken by involving the Office of the Premier or the Special Investigations Unit if truthful answers are not forthcoming from the department.

“However, we will not let this matter go. There will be a conclusion, there will be consequences and there will be remedial action against those individuals involved.  Legal costs amount to R492 000 and do not include the costs of the successful plaintiff Mahkubu Logistics still to be paid by the department.

“Transport MEC Ghishma Barry, who made the final call on this deal, must be called to account publically. Furthermore the MEC must be taken to task by the Premier for misleading the portfolio committee under oath that “everything was fine with the contract”.

“While one notes that the MEC was mislead in the whole matter she should not have allowed herself to be put in such a position.

“The following facts are recorded in the joint report by the Portfolio Committees of Transport and Finance on some of the actions that led to this mess:

“From the side of the Transaction Advisor and bid Evaluation and Adjudication committees we note the following:

  • Bids did not meet financial requirements as per the  tender specifications;
  • There were inconsistencies in the scoring of the bids;
  • The transaction advisor did not fulfil obligations;
  • The report alludes to the SBEC (Bid Evaluation Committee) as being “reckless and negligent”;
  • Financial bonds by bidders did not meet requirements as specified and should have been disqualified;
  • Points being awarded to the bidders were over scored to exceed maximum scores;

“Actions of the department include:

  • That the department won’t recognise it was part of flawed procurement processes;
  • The department could not give an plausible explanation as to why it settled with the unsuccessful bidder out of court;
  • The department is being evasive with costs – especially legal costs;
  • The report refers to the department not undergoing a proper vetting process.

“The DA believes this tender debacle would never have happened if the following measures were in place:

1)      There needs to be tender reform .Greater checks and balances need to be in place to ensure all requirements in bidding and tender process are secured.

2)      The tender process needs to be transparent and open to the public.( In the Western Cape there has been more awarding of contracts to  BEE companies as a result of open tendering than ever before)

3)      The DA believes in creating private entities Public Private Partnerships in the process.

4)      The awarding of the contract in portions to two or more suppliers per component to allow opportunity for people and companies to tender and focus on specific parts of the contract, thus broadening employment opportunities for all both formally and in the informal sector.  Transport consumers would have greater choice and better value for money by allowing competition in these sectors.

5)      There must be regular performance and deliverable deadlines that are regularly reviewed and implemented and consequences for non-performance.

This contract fiasco should never have happened.  The whole affair is rotten and leaves a stench of wasteful expenditure, lack of transparency and much political meddling.  The public has a right to know and the DA will ensure that the parties responsible are held accountable,” Haddon said.