IEC had 'double standard' on bid contract

2014-10-15 14:34
(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The IEC used "double-standards" when it awarded a R320m lease contract to Abland for the procurement of its Riverside Office Park building in Centurion, according to papers filed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

"If Khwela City [Property Investments] was to be excluded for failing to offer an occupation date of 1 April 2010, Abland ought also to have been excluded on the same basis," Electoral Commission of SA deputy chairperson Terry Tselane said in his founding affidavit.

He argued that an advertisement for the 10-year contract did not make clear that the occupation date of 1 April 2010 was an absolute requirement of the bid.

The advertisement "merely indicated that a later date will be problematic".

Tselane submitted that the lease with Abland be set aside because "the application of a double standard in excluding Khwela City for failing to offer an occupation date of 1 April 2010 but accepting an occupation date of 1 August 2010 for Abland [made] the procurement process... procedurally unfair”.

"The exclusion of Khwela City was objectively unjustifiable and its bid was objectively better than that of Abland," he said.

"When viewed objectively, the decision to award the lease to Abland was so unreasonable that no reasonable person could have so exercised the power or performed the function."

On 2 October, the IEC made an application to have the lease with Abland set aside, submitting that a new procurement process be instituted.

Khwela City, meanwhile, is suing the commission for R7.5m in damages for not being awarded the contract, despite being the preferred supplier. Tselane's affidavit was being used in support of Khwela's application.

Unlawfully benefitting

In its papers, the IEC asks that Abland submit to court an audited statement of its income received, expenses incurred and profit made with the existing lease.

It wants the court to determine if Abland was enriched at the expense of the IEC in the existing lease, and if so, that it pay the IEC an amount equal to the extent of the enrichment.

Tselane said he wants the contract declared invalid because the commission's former chairperson Pansy Tlakula unlawfully committed it to expenses totalling R82m.

"No fair, transparent or competitive procurement process was followed by Advocate Tlakula," he said.

"The lease unlawfully concluded in the process is one which terminates only on 31 August 2020 and which results in substantial recurrent excessive and unauthorised expenditure by the commission.

"Unless the commission is granted the relief that it seeks in this application, it will be bound to continue to spend public funds wastefully for another six more years."

Before the 7 May general election several political parties took Tlakula to court claiming her integrity had been compromised.

This followed an investigation by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into the procurement of the building.

Madonsela found Tlakula had a relationship, possibly of a romantic nature, with then chairperson of Parliament's finance portfolio committee Thaba Mufamadi. Mufamadi was a shareholder in Abland, and he and Tlakula were co-directors of Lehotsa Investments.

The Electoral Court found Tlakula's conduct warranted her removal from office. Her application to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal was dismissed.

Tlakula resigned in September.

Read more on:    iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  pretoria  |  crime

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