Officials wined and dined by the Chinese, then awarded them R286m tender

Officials wined and dined by the Chinese, then awarded them R286m tender

- Cape Town officials are accused of awarding a tender to a Chinese company irregularly

- The officials were wined and dined by the Chinese electric bus company Build Your Dreams during their visit to China

- It is believed this treatment led to the company winning the tender

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Officials of Cape Town were treated to dinners and lunches by the Chinese and a few months later a massive tender was rewarded to them. The tender was awarded irregularly.

The officials were on a trip to China paid for by the SA government when the Chinese electric bus company, BYD (Build Your Dreams), wined and dined them.

The law firm Bowman Gilfillan compiled a gigantic 2 000-page report on the incident and the tender.

Now councillors will have to decide what action should be taken after they've studied the report.

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Suspended transport and urban development authority commissioner Melissa Whitehead and Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, could possibly face disciplinary action.

Herron admitted to investigators that he, along with Whitehead and other officials, visited Changsha (where BYD is located) instead of being in Shenzhen on the last night of their trip.

A TimesLIVE report indicates that BYD paid the officials' accommodation as well as lunches and dinners.

It is now questioned whether this treatment of the officials by the Chinese led to them being awarded the tender. The officials were aware that the company was one of those who tendered for the contract that would provide Cape Town electric MyCiTi buses.

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It is also recommended that the R6 600 that was wasted on accommodation for the officials that went unused should be paid back out of their own pockets.

According to the report, the company also obtained B-BBEE status when they did not meet the requirements. Action will now have to be taken against the company for the fraudulent act.

Herron did not wish to comment on the incident or the report.

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The project resulted in 11 buses being assembled by BYD. They are now parked in Cape Town but can't be delivered until the tender investigation has been completed.

The council will decide on Thursday, 25 October, what will happen next.

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