War over R2bn security tender

Ten security companies have written a letter to the City of Ekurhuleni demanding to know how the municipality was able appoint new security companies for the more than R2-billion tender atleast  25 days after receiving tender bidding documents.

Calvin & Family, Khayalami Security CC, KNM Security, LL Security, and  Mabotwane Security Services, among others, have written the letter via their lawyers, Albert Hibbert Attorneys, and gave the municipality an ultimatum to reply or face the full might of the law.

The letter was sent to the municipality amid allegations that municipal officials buckled under pressure from opposition parties to bypass procedures and appoint bidders of their choice.

In the letter, which we have seen, the companies demanded that the municipality explain how its evaluation bid committee could have possibly evaluated bidding documents of 231 bidders – send them to bid adjudication committee for recommendation – after checking them, conducted site inspections and then appointed the successful companies in just less than a month.

The companies stated that they were appointed by the municipality in August 2020 to render services until June 30 2023.

In April 2023, the city advertised a new contract and received bids from a total of 232 companies, including theirs.

They said they expected the bidding process to be completed after a few months because they had not received letters from the municipality informing them that their bids were

This also because they also expected site inspections to be conducted on the premises of the short-listed entities.

The companies challenged the city to provide specific documents demonstrating the possible completion of the procurement process within such a short period.

They argued that it was highly unlikely for the city to have properly processed and awarded the contract within such a short period of time, given the large number of bidders.

“In support of the aforementioned, it is highly improbable that the city managed to properly evaluate, adjudicate and award the new contract with such a vast amount of bidders in such a short period of time. Save to say, it borders near impossible,” the letter reads.

“Furthermore, it is our instructions that to our clients’ knowledge, the city has also not yet conducted site visits of all acceptable bidders as is required by the tender document of the new contract. In the absence of the aforesaid, it is simply impossible for the procurement process to be complete for the new contract.”

The complainants threatened to go to court on an urgent basis to interdict the new companies from rendering their services to the municipality.

The city’s lawyers, KM Mmuoe Attorneys, argued that the matter concerning the procurement process for the new tender was distinct from the rights and responsibilities outlined in the contract and said they would not hand them any documents.

“With that said, we respectfully wish to point out that the request to provide the information and documents is not only unreasonable but has no legal basis. Similarly, the challenges made in your letter suffer the same fate.”

City spokesperson Phakamile Mbengashe said each bid was meticulously evaluated by bid adjudication committee, which comprised at least four officials.

“The decision-making process around tenders is always guided by value, functionality, local content, and other qualifying criteria. All decisions are recorded and the reasons for any deviations from recommendations are reported to the Auditor-General, the Gauteng Provincial Treasury, and the National Treasury within 10 working days. Furthermore, site visits were conducted as part of the evaluation stage and unsuccessful bidders were communicated with post the adjudication process,” said Mbengashe.

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