City Power CEO orders probe into awarding of tender

2019-06-20 23:07
City Power CEO has ordered an investigation into a tender. (iStock)

City Power CEO has ordered an investigation into a tender. (iStock)

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City Power CEO Lerato Setshedi has ordered an investigation into the awarding of a tender after the High Court in Johannesburg declared it invalid and set it aside.

Setshedi asked the City of Johannesburg's special investigation unit, headed by General Shadrack Sibiya, to investigate how the tender at the power utility was handled through the procurement process.

"Any internal investigation by City Power will not go far enough, purely because we cannot investigate a situation where our own officials are suspected of possible wrongdoing, and also because City Power does not have the necessary skills and resources to do a proper investigation," Setshedi said in a statement on Thursday night.

While the City did not specifically say which tender it was referring to, the High Court recently made a ruling in favour of the applicant, Infinite Blue Trading 29 (trading as Motau Projects), against City Power and around 60 other companies that successfully tendered to be part of a panel of contractors.

These contractors are understood to be ready to do maintenance work as and when called upon to do so.

The applicant had challenged the validity of the tender process, contending there were material irregularities.

Judge Roland Sutherland agreed.

"There are clear irregularities in the scoring. In my view, the pattern gives rise to a reasonable suspicion of deliberate manipulation of the process to improperly exclude the applicant, and perhaps others too."

The court was of the opinion that City Power's definition of an asset register, versus that of the applicant, might have differed and that such a difference might have led the power utility to unfairly penalise and exclude it during the awarding of the tender.

An exclusion may also have happened with the manner in which City Power tested the applicant's electricians, compared to how it expected its electricians to be tested and scored.

"The threshold score that the applicant failed to meet was 75. It was scored 74 after an electrician failed a test and six points were deducted from the 80 score that it was initially awarded," said Judge Sutherland. "Missing that threshold score had the effect of excluding the applicant from any further participation in the tender process."

He added that the present successful bidders would temporarily continue offering their services for three months while the tender bids were "re-evaluated honestly".

"In the circumstances, the setting aside of the tender which is unavoidable, shall not cause any consequential harm to the public interest," Judge Sutherland said.

City Power expected its investigation to be completed in 180 days, as set out by the judge, after which the findings would be made public.

It said it was abiding by the court order and would embark on a communication campaign to inform all affected parties.

Read more on:    city power  |  gauteng  |  tender irregularities
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