The North West Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Premier, Finance, Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements, and Traditional Affairs has raised concerns over the alleged irregular awarding of a tender worth R130,484,335.86 by the Department of Social Development. The Committee plans to request the Provincial Treasury to investigate the possibility of reviewing and setting aside the tender due to inconsistencies in the bid documents.
Inconsistencies in the Tender Awarding Process
The Department of Social Development advertised a tender for a panel of security companies for a 36-month term (NW/DSD/07/22) in August 2022. However, the same tender was awarded for only 18 months to ten companies, six of which are based in Gauteng, on May 2, 2023, worth more than R130 million. The Provincial Internal Audit advised against proceeding due to inconsistencies in the bid documents on April 4, 2023 (source).
Prior to this award, the same ten companies were granted contracts amounting to R566,000 in September 2022, earning R4,528,000 in eight months. The adjudication process for this tender appears to have been predetermined since September 2022.
Call for Thorough Investigation
Chairperson Hon. Aaron Motswana stated that the Provincial Internal Audit report exposes clear inconsistencies in the advertising, evaluation, and adjudication of this tender. The Committee urges the MEC for Finance, Hon. Motlalepula Rosho, to conduct a thorough investigation into compliance.
Marginalization of Local Businesses
The Committee is disappointed that North West-based companies are being marginalized and deprived of opportunities by their own government in favor of other provinces. This exportation of economic prospects on a large scale is detrimental to the local economy.
Ignoring Reports and Contempt of Parliament
Hon. Motswana noted that the Office of the Premier has yet to respond to a Public Service Commission (PSC) report dated March 6, 2023. This report concerns a person who only possessed a matric in the PSC report but suddenly had qualifications by September 2020 when applying for the post of Head of the Department of Social Development. The lack of response to the PSC report and the Office of the Premier’s ignoring of its adoption and tabling indicate that the Department is not only dealing with a potentially fraudulent HOD but is also in contempt of Parliament.
Increased Transparency and Accountability in the Tendering Process
The Portfolio Committee’s call for a review of the tender and a thorough investigation into compliance highlights the need for increased transparency and accountability in the tendering process. This is particularly important considering the impact on local businesses and the economy in North West province. It remains to be seen what actions will be taken by the Provincial Treasury and the Office of the Premier in response to these concerns.