R30m 'express' tender being probed after outrage over time frame

R30m 'express' tender being probed after outrage over time frame

- The Gauteng's e-Government Department has issued a R30 million tender within just 24 hours

- The contract is to provide the department with IT services and cybersecurity

- Now enraged service providers who did not get the tender suspect that the 24-hour window period suggests that the award may have been predetermined.

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The Gauteng's e-Government Department has come under fire for using an alleged irregular process to conclude a R30 million contract within 24 hours of announcing the tender, using the coronavirus outbreak as a cover.

The contract is to provide the department with IT services, including cybersecurity.

City Press reports that the contract was won by In2IT Technologies.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is reportedly now dealing with the matter after a whistle-blower wrote a letter of complaint to his office.

The MEC for Finance and e-Government in Gauteng Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko requested permission from Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for a deviation from following normal procurement processes, reports City Press.

Ndabeni-Abrahams has also received complaints from enraged technology companies which lost out to In2IT.

They say the 24-hour window period suggests that the award may have been predetermined.

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Spokesperson for Nkomo-Ralehoko, Tshepo Shawa, denied this. Shawa said everything was conducted in a regular manner.

One official alleged that the tender process was done on an urgent basis, using the current national state of disaster management of the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the urgency and circumvention of supply chain procedures, City Press reports.

Shawa denied that the emergency procurement was linked to Covid-19.

"All conditions were met prior to appointing the new service provider."

Halga Ninow-Cohen, the director of outgoing service provider GSOC Security Services, wrote a letter to Ndabeni-Abrahams on 27 March, complaining about the time frame.

An executive of another service provider that received an invitation to bid said:

"A rushed tender of this size and complexity could only have been prepared for a responder who was already prepared to submit."

Andrew Hoseck, the chief operating officer at In2IT Technologies, explained that their documentation had been ready from government’s previous botched attempt, in May 2019, to issue the tender.

The 25 March request had the same requirements, he said.

"That enabled us to respond quickly to this request for pricing."

Ndabeni-Abrahams, in a letter written to a complainant, said she could not intervene in any procurement-related matters.

"You are advised to table your objections with the head of department or the MEC responsible for e-government."

Briefly.co.za has reported that the confirmed number of Covid-19 cases in the country has increased to 1 656 with 11 fatalities.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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