SABC board en­tan­gled in R183m con­tract dis­pute

Sunday Tribune - - NATION - AYANDA MD­LULI­[email protected]

THE in­terim board of the cash-strapped SABC, ap­pointed be­tween March and Septem­ber last year, is em­broiled in a dis­pute over the award­ing of a con­tract for se­cu­rity ser­vices val­ued at more than R183 mil­lion.

In June last year, the con­tract was awarded to a com­pany ranked sec­ond in a bid­ding process, de­spite the na­tional Trea­sury and the broad­caster’s own lawyers, Mnce­disi Ndlovu & Se­dumedi At­tor­neys (MNS), ad­vis­ing against award­ing it to the com­pany.

The Trea­sury and MNS ad­vised the SABC to award it to Mjayeli Se­cu­rity, the com­pany ranked first in the bid­ding process.

So ir­reg­u­lar was the hand­ing of the con­tract to the los­ing bid­der by the in­terim board, that when the SABC’S head and gen­eral man­ager of sup­ply chain pointed this out, they were both sum­mar­ily dis­missed with­out proper labour prac­tices be­ing fol­lowed, ac­cord­ing to al­le­ga­tions made in doc­u­ments seen by In­de­pen­dent Me­dia.

The mat­ter was also re­ferred to the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit, which said last week it might have dis­cov­ered ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the award­ing of the lu­cra­tive se­cu­rity con­tract by the in­terim board.

Re­quest for pro­posal doc­u­ments seen by In­de­pen­dent Me­dia show that out of 45 bid­ders, three were short­listed af­ter pric­ing and broad­based black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment (BBBEE) eval­u­a­tion in which Mjayeli re­ceived the high­est score and Mafoko the sec­ond-high­est.

The com­pany Mabot­wane was ranked third.

De­spite Mjayeli scor­ing high in pric­ing, the board over­ruled its own sup­ply chain pro­cesses and awarded the con­tract to Mafoko, which is still con­tracted to SABC, open­ing up a lit­i­ga­tion process spear­headed by the for­mer in an at­tempt to re­verse the ir­reg­u­lar­ity al­legedly com­mit­ted by the in­terim board.

Ac­cord­ing to cor­re­spon­dence, the in­terim board re­jected Mjayeli as the pre­ferred bid­der be­cause Mafoko had a level 1 BBBEEE con­trib­u­tor ac­cred­i­ta­tion while Mjayeli had level 2.

Fur­ther­more, the in­terim board ar­gued that given the small dif­fer­ence be­tween bid­ders – the over­all scores were be­tween 99 and 98.97 points – it was jus­ti­fi­able to award the con­tract to Mafoko, de­spite it not be­ing the high­est-scor­ing bid­der.

Also, given that Mjayeli would have to take over 75% of Mafoko’s over­all staff com­ple­ment, the board ar­gued that “it would just be bet­ter” if Mafoko, as the cur­rent ser­vice provider, should be ap­pointed so as to avoid the per­ceived dis­rup­tion of Mjayeli tak­ing over 75% of Mafoko’s staff com­ple­ment.

Si­mon Mo­laudzi, who was the SABC’S head of sup­ply man­age­ment, through his lawyers, made a sub­mis­sion to the stand­ing com­mit­tee on pub­lic ac­counts re­gard­ing his dis­missal at the SABC, which reads: “The hear­ing of Si­mon Mo­laudzi con­tin­ued in his ab­sence fol­low­ing a pre­vi­ous date set by the SABC, which the SABC did not hon­our and af­ter a med­i­cal cer­tifi­cate was pro­duced by the chair­per­son. This was de­spite the fact that the SABC was aware of his med­i­cal con­di­tion as he was pre­vi­ously un­able to at­tend work for a pe­riod of three months.”

Re­spond­ing to the al­le­ga­tions, the SABC, through its spokesper­son, Neo Mo­modu said: “The Mafoko Se­cu­rity con­tract is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit. There is also lit­i­ga­tion, which ren­ders the mat­ter sub ju­dice. In light of this the SABC can­not com­ment on this mat­ter.”

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