Another Mpumalanga tender set aside at tax payer’s expense

Jane Sithole, MPL

Spokesperson on Health

Health MEC Gillion Mashego must hold to account all officials responsible for the department’s waste management services tender being set aside due to its irregular processes.

In March 2013, two companies, namely Vikela Africa Waste Care and Compass Waste Services, took the provincial health department to court following its unlawful handling of a tender for the appointment of a service provider for waste management services.

Judge SP Mothle of the North Gauteng High Court ruled that the tender should be reviewed and set aside because it was unlawful, procedurally unfair and unreasonable. The department was ordered to pay the legal costs of both companies that had sought action against it.

It is not the first time that fraudulent tender processes have cost the taxpayer thousands in legal fees, money that could have been spent on upgrading the province’s healthcare facilities.

The provisions of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) clearly state that apart from certain exceptions, a tender should be awarded to the bidder with the lowest price. It is therefore disturbing that the department would ignore all regulations and award a tender to Isibonelo Waste Solutions, a company whose bid price was three times than that of the lowest bidder.

The DA will put parliamentary questions to MEC Mashego asking what action the department will be taking against all officials who allowed this tender to be approved. We will also be asking the department how it plans to prevent such fraudulent activity from happening again.

MEC Mashego must ensure that the bill for irregular tenders is paid by the officials who allow for it to happen instead of forcing innocent tax payers to fund these kinds of gross mismanagement. For as long as this government is not willing to hold its officials accountable, the DA will not rest until those who are involved take responsibility for their own actions.

Mpumalanga is fast becoming known as the county’s hub for irregular tenders. This would not be happening if government officials duly followed the processes set out in the PPPFA and the Constitution instead of taking shortcuts that will line their own pockets.

The tender has been re-advertised and interestingly, Isibonelo Waste Solutions has once again submitted its bid. The DA will monitor the development of this tender and ensure that the outcome is fair and procedural.