Investigate R1.2 billion Gauteng broadband tender irregularities

Ashor Sarupen MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Provincial Owned Entities

The DA is unsurprised at media reports indicating that the Auditor General (AG) has red-flagged the Gauteng Provincial Government’s R1.2 billion tender to construct a broadband network as irregular.

My colleagues and I in the Provincial Legislature have been probing the tender and posing questions to the MEC with dismissive responses.

The 2013/14 Financial Year audit report indicates that this tender had been designed in a manner that provided an unfair advantage to the winning bidder, and that there had been inadequate evaluation during the process of it’s awarding.

In response to a written question on the 18th of July, the MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, denied that the department had received any management letter from the AG raising concerns with regards to this network.

However, the article indicated that the AG had sent a letter on 16 May.

During the debate on the Finance Department’s budget (under which the Broadband Network Project is being funded and managed) on the 25th of July 2014, the DA raised several concerns about the single tender, that there are too many questions over it and how it was put together, to which the MEC replied “I do not know what your single tender story is”.

In addition, the DA moved in the Finance Oversight Committee that the single tender for the broadband network be broken up into smaller tenders, while advocating for a public-private partnership model as another alternative.

The MEC’s denials and refusal to acknowledge that the AG had flagged the tender as problematic in response to written questions is extremely troubling.

Furthermore, the MECs statements that she did not know why the DA was concerned about the tender indicate that she either unaware of what is happening in her own department, or that something needs to be covered up.

In light of the Gauteng Premier’s statements against corruption, the DA calls on the MEC to investigate the AG’s findings, and come clean about the concerns raised by the DA and now the AG.

The DA will continue to probe this tender and the manner in which it was awarded