Tag: tender

Source: Talk of the Town

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has warned the public not to be duped by a fake e-mail doing its rounds in which an “official” calls for people to contact its offices regarding a tender for the three-year supply of food parcels in the Free State.

Sassa spokesperson Sandy Godlwana told TimesLIVE that the agency was concerned that members of the public “will find themselves having to pay money with the hope that they will get the tender, where this is fake and a scam”.

The fake correspondence has been sent in the name of Sassa regional executive manager Themba Matlou.

“This misinformation is devoid of truth and is tantamount to causing chaos and anarchy which may lead to unrest and the undesirable consequence of damage to government property,” said Matlou in a statement issued on Monday night.

“The process to appoint service providers has just started and is only an evaluation process. Successful bidders will be duly contacted through proper channels at an appropriate time.

“The agency warns all bidders against this scam and any other bid where people purport to take money claiming they are from Sassa.

“The social relief programme is intended to assist to meet basic needs of indigent persons by means of rendering temporary and immediate material assistance in response to a crisis.We are working around the clock to ensure that suitable service providers are appointed in line with Sassa supply chain prescripts,” he said.

Sanral cancels e-tolls tender

By Roy Cokayne for Moneyweb

The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has cancelled the tender it issued in August last year for the continued management of e-tolls and claims it has not been informed of any decision by the government on the future of e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

Sanral has also confirmed that it intends to reissue the tender.

Vusi Mona, general manager of communications at Sanral, confirmed on Friday that Sanral’s board had decided to cancel the tender and stressed that Sanral has not been informed of any decision in regard to the future of e-tolls.

“The board’s decision to cancel the tender was informed by a review of the assurance documents from Sanral’s legal and internal audit departments, as well as expert advice provided by the independent advisor to the board’s audit and risk committee.”

The cancellation of the tender, which was in the process of being adjudicated, follows Sanral confirming on March 12 that its contract with Electronic Tolling Collections (ETC) for the management of e-tolls on the GFIP had been extended until December 2020.

One of the reasons cited by Sanral for that extension was to allow for the tender process to be concluded.

ETC’s contract was also extended for three months in December last year, with this extension expiring at the beginning of this month.

Mona said the current ETC contract allowed for an up to 24-month extension.

“In December 2019, Sanral extended the ETC contract for three months to finalise the tender process.

“The Sanral board then took the decision to cancel the tender. Based on this decision, the current ETC contract was extended for a further nine months to allow for completion of the retendering process.

“The tenderers were also informed of the cancellation,” he said.

‘Smoke and ambiguity’

On the weekend, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO Wayne Duvenage described the cancellation of the tender as “lots of smoke, lots of ambiguity and a lack of clarity,” adding that “nothing makes sense”.

He said it seemed that an announcement on the future of e-tolls was imminent last week, before the government’s announcement on Covid-19.

“Obviously with the virus, it has been put off and I think there are more important things to deal with right now.

“So it is again a case of wait-and-see and kicking the can down the road some more, with compliance continuing to drop,” he said.

Paying motorists getting frustrated

Duvenage believes people who are paying their e-tolls are getting frustrated with the fact that only one in five are paying their e-tolls and he called on them to stop paying.

“That will end it sooner [rather] than later,” he said.

Duvenage believes Sanral has scrapped the tender process more out of a decision to wait and see what government is going to do about e-tolls.

“These are all indications that the end is nigh. If the government is going to carry on with e-tolls, Sanral has another nine months to retender.”

The problem is that Sanral cannot enforce compliance anymore, adds Duvenage.

“They have stopped summoning for over a year; the test case is in the balance and by putting that test case on hold, they have effectively done a lot of damage to the strength of their case,” he said.

Moneyweb reported last year that Duvenage claimed Kusa Kokutsha, which submitted a bid of R7.548 billion for the tender, was allegedly only registered as a business days after the tender was first advertised and appeared to have been set up specifically to bid for the Sanral contract.

The other two bidders, according to Outa, were Phambili joint venture (JV) and SAeTO.

It said Phambili JV submitted a bid of R11.399 billion while SAeTO did not list a bid amount.

Duvenage added at the time that the date on which Kusa Kokutsha was registered indicated that it did not have a track record as a business and, through its directors, is linked to outgoing contractor ETC.

“Thus this appears to be ETC in a new guise,” he said.

Douglas Davey, ETC board chair, subsequently confirmed that ETC did not submit a bid for the tender because it is a special purpose vehicle and was therefore established only to manage and operate the Gauteng tolling system.

However, Davey said Kusa Kokutsha, in which TMT Services and Supplies has a 44% shareholding and KapschTrafficCom AG a 5% stake, did submit a bid.

The majority shareholder in Kusa Kokutsha is a staff trust, with a 51% stake in the company.

ETC’s original shareholders were TMT and Austria-based Kapsch TrafficCom AG.

Only part of the tender Sanral issued for an open road tolling system in Gauteng – a national Transaction Clearing House (TCH) and violations processing centre – relates to e-tolls on the GFIP.

The TCH is currently almost exclusively used for clearing e-toll collections for various toll operators and toll plazas but Sanral confirmed that it is in the process of repackaging and expanding the function of its TCH to provide a host of other mobility services, such as vehicle licence renewal payments, cashless parking, fuel payments and to use Sanral’s customer service centres for driving licence renewals.

By Jason Milford for Centurion Rekord 

This week, a group of Centurion businessmen demanded to know why a “stationery supply” company got a tender from the metro to fix a massive sinkhole in the area.

The group is involved in a class action suit against the metro, which they accuse of dragging their feet in repairing the sinkhole at the intersection of Jean Avenue and Gerhard Street.

Jacques Classen, the attorney representing the class act, said there is reason to believe that the incorrect measures were followed to appoint the contractor, Gaborena.

Classen wanted to know why Gaborena would need a sub-contractor while they are appointed as the main contractor.

“According to Gaborena’s main object and purpose describing their business, they mainly supply stationery and manufacture wooden and woven products,” said Classen.

Classen also said the metro must prove they followed the correct procurement procedures and processes to appoint Gaborena.

The class act also wanted the metro held liable for contempt of court for not supplying documentation.

Mayoral spokesperson Sam Mgobozi said the metro is aware of Gaborena’s appointment of a sub-contractor.

He said it was not unusual for service providers to do so.

Mgobozi also said the metro had to broaden its scope and network to appoint an appropriate contractor for the sinkhole.

© Centurion Rekord

PC distributor Mustek is assisting the City of Johannesburg (COJ) in a case where the city paid R6-million for 500 desktop computers to a service provider but the PCs were never delivered to the municipality.

In a statement, COJ mayor Herman Mashaba says he was informed that the city paid R6 million for 500 desktop computers that were ordered by the Group Information Communication Technology (GICT) department in 2014 but they were never delivered.

Opposition party the Democratic Alliance took over COJ from the ANC in August 2016. Mashaba, who took over the reins from the ANC’s Parks Tau, has publicly announced he intends to rid the city of corruption, which he blames on the previous administration.

Tip-off

According to Mashaba, the Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) received a tip-off from a member of the public who is closely linked to the service provider, saying that while she was working at the company, the city placed an order for 500 desktop computers.

It’s not clear which desktop PCs the city purchased but at retailer Incredible Connection, they range from R5 000 to R18 000. In the R6 million deal, the city paid R12 000 per computer.

Mashaba explains the computers were paid for with the assistance of officials working for the city but never reached the city.

The service provider, which is based in the south of Johannesburg, provides office supplies such as desktop computers, laptops, printer cartridges and toners, to name a few, he says.

A search and seizure operation was conducted this week by the members of the Hawks and officials from GFIS at the offices of the service provider.

Mashaba explains that about 37 computers worth R750 000 belonging to the city were seized during a joint operation.

He explains it is alleged that after winning the tender to supply the computers, the service provider placed an order with PC distributor Mustek to do the city’s imaging on the computers.

This was standard procedure, says Mashaba. “But with this batch, it is alleged that when he received it from Mustek, the service provider and his specialists in the information technology filed to remove the city’s imaging. Serial numbers of the seized computers were removed.”

In a statement sent to ITWeb, Mustek says: “In terms of Mustek’s distribution model, Mustek on-sells its products to its approved dealers, who then on-sell to end-users and public sector customers.

“Accordingly, we cannot comment on what transpired between the service provider and the City of Johannesburg. However, we are assisting the City of Johannesburg with their investigation of this matter.”

Preliminary investigations
It is alleged that most of the computers were sold to other clients and the 37 seized were used by the service provider’s staff members, Mashaba says.

He points out that preliminary investigations into the matter revealed that a city official was paid R1 million by the service provider for securing the deal for it. The city official allegedly took one official working for the service provider to a shop in the south which sells building material and spent R30 000 as a token of appreciation to the official, he adds.

“I was also informed that the service provider colludes with one of our officials who steals printer cartridges from our stores and sells them to the service provider who then sells it back to the city. When the team arrived at the property, they found one employee removing serial numbers from the boxes of the cartridges which had names of other municipalities and government departments.”

The team also established that the service provider illegally connected electricity supply to the property. City Power officials were called in and they removed the meter.

“The GFIS is currently conducting a number of investigations into contracts entered with ICT suppliers. I want to eliminate corrupt elements throughout the city, including investigating illicit deals and contracts that were secured by the previous administration and this includes our technology space,” concludes Mashaba.

By Admire Moyo for ITWeb 

Ex-Eskom bosses grilled over R1bn IT tender

The “overpriced” R1 billion information technology tender that Eskom awarded to outsourcing giant T-Systems two years ago is still haunting the under-fire power utility.

The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises yesterday continued its inquiry on Eskom into the mismanagement of state funds in state-owned enterprises.

According to Business Report, the Eskom board came under fire over “how it axed former executives and pushed through a tender deal of R1 billion for information technology and maintenance at power stations”.
Two witnesses appeared before the committee – former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona and Eskom’s former group executive for enterprise development, Erica Johnson.

Briefing the committee, Matona said that by the time he arrived at Eskom in October 2014, there was significant turmoil within the board and there was fighting over a range of governance issues. The most pertinent matter was around procurement.

He was suspended by the board five months after his appointment.

German-based multinational T-Systems first secured the deal in December 2010, when it purchased state-owned ICT service provider arivia.kom, which came with the five-year, R500 million per annum Eskom deal – at the time described as one of the biggest outsourcing transactions in SA’s history.

However, it is understood excessive pricing was the main driver for Eskom wanting to shop around for a new service
provider.

In May 2012, Eskom, nonetheless, said it would retain the services of outsourcing giant T-Systems SA for another two years, after it announced the previous month that it was scrapping its tender for the provision of outsourcing IT infrastructure services. The tender was reportedly “overpriced”.

Responding to questions over the tender, Matona said: “There was infighting about whether T-Systems should get the tender or somebody else.”

He indicated the issues at Eskom rendered the board dysfunctional in many ways. That could be one of the reasons shareholders decided to change the board in December 2014.

When questioned around his suspension, Matona said the suspension came as a complete shock, “by a board that had just taken office and a board that was still familiarising itself with issues of the company”.

He said: “I expressed my disagreement of a new investigation, an investigation of my removal without any basis of why I had to be removed. At the time I did not know that the same was being proposed for other executives; I was handed a letter of suspension. I believe the action was wrong and I went to the Labour Court and sought urgent relief to indicate that my suspension was unfair and that I should be reinstated.”

Responding to questions around governance at Eskom, Matona said the challenge of governance and what confronted Eskom was financial performance of the company.

“The books were not balancing and there were a number of factors, revenue was under pressure and this was as a result of the economic slowdown at the time. The economic slowdown was becoming apparent at that time. The issue of tariff – as to whether it was sufficient to sustain the balance sheet, the issue of debt with municipalities which was escalating. The long and short of it is that Eskom was in serious financial trouble,” he said.

By Admire Moyo for ITWeb

A former senior government official who helped plan the rollout of information and communication technology (ICT) in schools and an offshore company incorporated in a well-known tax haven are among the beneficiaries of the Gauteng education department’s (GED) controversial smart boards tender worth at least R357-million.

News24 can reveal that Mallele Petje, the GED’s former head of department, is a shareholder in the company that won the GED’s recently-awarded tender for digital smart boards.

The smart boards are to replace white boards in Gauteng schools.

Petje also chaired a government committee that formulated an early blueprint for the use of technology in local schools.

The tender, which has come under fire amid allegations that it had been rigged to favour the winning bidder, was awarded to a company called Modlin e-Learning Solutions in August this year.
David Modlin, Modlin’s CEO, this week informed News24 that 51% of the company’s shares are owned by Borofa Consulting, a locally-registered company.
British Virgin Islands registration

According to Companies and Intellectual Property Commission records, Petje is Borofa’s sole director.

Petje says he is Borofa Consulting’s only shareholder.

The remaining 49% of Modlin’s shares are owned by Intelligent Solutions Investment Limited, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, a well-known tax haven.

Before Petje left his post as GED department head in 2008 to become the province’s director general, he chaired the heads of education departments committee’s (Hedcom) ICT sub-committee.
At that time, the ICT sub-committee was busy drafting government’s plans for the large-scale rollout of ICT equipment such as PCs and laptops in government schools.
In 2008 Petje told the website IT Web that the Hedcom ICT sub-committee was busy with “the process of analysing the options available for the rollout [of ICT products in schools].”

Committee discussed smart boards
He also said the sub-committee was “mainly [focussed] on [the] procurement and financing” of the rollout.
It is not clear whether the sub-committee he chaired envisaged or recommended the use of smart boards.

However, a document titled “The Need for an eEducation in South Africa”, which was compiled by auditing firm KMPG for the national department of education in 2009 and in which Petje’s role as chair of the ICT sub-committee is outlined, does refer to the use of smart boards in classrooms.

Under the heading “ICT can be used to present and navigate through instructionally designed materials”, the KPMG report refers to “content rich” educational material that had been “designed for access through television sets or interactive whiteboards”.

The document also references the Nepad e-Schools Project, which saw the installation of ICT hardware, including “one interactive whiteboard”, in each of the six South African schools that formed part of the project.
Petje says it would be “far-fetched” to suggest that he has now benefited from government spending that may have been informed by the recommendations of a sub-committee that he chaired.

‘I can’t remember’
“The sub-committee didn’t take any decision, it could only submit recommendations for consideration by the council of education ministers. Whatever decisions they would have taken would possibly have filtered through education departments when I was not there,” said Petje.

“My own view is that the Gauteng education department would possibly have taken a position that would have been informed by their own research, which, having left them a few years ago and as far as this tender is concerned, I wouldn’t have been privy to,” added Petje.

According to the former department head, the ICT sub-committee he chaired may very well have considered the use of smart boards in classrooms.
“I guess we would have looked at a range of devices that are possible in the use of technology within education. I can’t remember if smart boards were mentioned, but we would have possibly referred to the use of all forms of devices that make learning possible within the context of education,” said Petje.

The DA has recently submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request to the GED to obtain all documents related to the smart boards tender.
In a recent press release the party claimed that it had been “informed that the department could have saved millions of rands had the ICT tender been awarded to an alternative service provider”.

Offshore investment ‘historic’
In a written response to questions in the Gauteng provincial legislature at the end of October education MEC Panyaza Lesufi stated that 196 smart boards have been installed in 21 schools across Gauteng this year.
According to earlier reports, the contract involves the purchase of 1 800 smart boards.

Modlin says the tender process was “fair and open and the tender was awarded in accordance with the Gauteng Department of Education’s formal tender process”.
Modlin says the offshore investment in Modlin E Learning Solutions is “historic”.

“Initially the shareholding…was held by a United Kingdom partner of mine, but his equity was acquired by me in around 2012,” explained Modlin.
Oupa Bodibe, a spokesperson for the GED, did not respond to News24’s queries.

By Pieter-Louis Myburgh for News24

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