Tshwane CCTV tender court bid dismissed

2011-05-17 21:48
Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday dismissed an application by a losing bidder to set aside a City of Tshwane’s decision to award a R121m tender for a CCTV surveillance system to a more expensive rival.

In September, the court granted an interim interdict to stop installation of the city’s closed circuit television cameras, pending a review application by losing bidder Omega Risk Solutions.

This, after the city awarded the tender to Morubisi Technologies.

Omega claimed the decision to disqualify it was procedurally unfair, because misleading or false information had been placed before the decision-making body.

The company alleged it was disqualified because of the unauthorised or unwarranted dictates of the city’s protection services director, Steve Ngobeni, and that the city was biased in evaluating Omega’s bid.

Techno-Engineering, which was appointed as technical adviser to select four bidders, initially excluded Morubisi, but after Ngobeni expressed concerns, prepared another report.

Report 'doctored'

Omega claimed the contents of the report were "doctored" to disqualify it, although it was the cheapest, purportedly because it failed to include the maintenance costs for the existing cameras in its price.

The report recommended Morubisi as the preferred bidder and the tender was eventually awarded to the company in April last year.

Ngobeni did not deny persuading the technical adviser to include Morubisi, but expressed surprise over why it was now "vehemently supporting" Omega in its application.

The city submitted that the Techno-Engineering did not have clean hands when it disqualified Morubisi in its initial report and recommendations.

This was because of an e-mail in which Omega - before putting in its bid - sought advice from Techno about the required information and specifications for the tender.

Judge Legodi Phatudi said it was clear that Omega and Techno had communicated with each other in connection with the tender prior to the closing date.

"Based on that communiqué, I find Omega not having bid with clean hands. I further find Techno to have been a player and referee - at the same time - when preparing the initial report," the judge said.

"... I cannot find any bad faith in the role Ngobeni played in raising his concerns in the disqualification and exclusion of Morubisi in the [initial] report."

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