R3bn licensing tender ‘valid’: lawyers

2011-06-23 09:05

Lawyers acting for a company accused of having illegally obtained a R3 billion Gauteng transport department tender insist their client’s contract is valid, The Star reported today.

“Although West Point has received a copy of a letter dispatched by the MEC, in which he expresses his view that the agreement is invalid, it has otherwise received no correspondence from the department.

“We believe that this is a matter to be determined by the court and not the department based on the opinion of the MEC,” lawyer Veronica Vurgarellis was quoted as saying.

The newspaper reported Gauteng transport department head Benedicta Monama was facing possible legal or disciplinary action, allegedly for awarding the company the tender without getting government permission.

The Treasury apparently told Monama in February to halt the awarding of the contract.

It later advised her against appointing West Point Trading Enterprises 123 to manage and operate more driving licence testing centres in the province.

The Treasury argued the centres were not sustainable, citing the poor management of cash and staff at the centres. They were established to test the roadworthiness of cars and learner drivers’ abilities.

Transport MEC Ismail Vadi – who was allegedly made aware of the deal on May 31 – told The Star on Tuesday night he would demand answers from Monama.

“I conferred with the MEC for finance on the matter. We both agreed that the said service level agreement is unlawful.

I have formally written to Monama informing her that I consider the agreement to be invalid and of no force and effect,” he said.

“I also indicated to Monama that she was acting without the required authority or mandate to conclude the agreement. The matter, together with the Auditor General’s report released recently, is currently under further investigation by my office.”

Monama told the daily: “I don’t want to respond to my boss in the media.”

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