Protector asked to probe advisers
Cape Town - Four civil society organisations have asked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to make a finding on the role of political advisers in procurement proceedings.
This should form part of her probe into the Western Cape provincial government's contract with TBWA Hunt Lascaris, the groups said on Thursday.
The request was signed by the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), the Social Justice Coalition, the Right 2 Know Campaign and Ndifuna Ukwazi.
They said they believed the involvement of Premier Helen Zille's special advisor Ryan Coetzee in the bid evaluation committee for the contract "doubly tainted the tender".
"But we believe that office is the appropriate authority to make a determination on that including issuing recommendations," they said.
ODAC director Alison Tilley said the issue was important and deserved clarification.
"This is the example we have in front of us but it is probably not the only one."
Zille asked the auditor-general to conduct an audit on the tender after it emerged that the provincial treasury had found there had been a lack of lack of control measures and good governance principles in the process.
The tender worth between R50m and R70m was awarded to Hunt Lascaris to develop and implement a brand and communications strategy for the Western Cape government.
The civil society groups said they met Zille last month and she told them that she had initially been unaware that Coetzee was on the evaluation committee.
"She did not mention to us at that stage that her adviser also appears to have drafted the specifications of the tender with others," they said.
They also asked Madonsela to probe Hunt Lascaris's initial failure to point out that it had three previous contracts with the state.
Madonsela's office said on Thursday her investigation into the tender was underway and would be completed within three months.