company cries foul over tender

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The owners of Bhekintsha Business Enterprise are embroiled in a bitter tug-of-war with the KwaZulu-Natal department of social development over a cancelled contract worth R50million.

The contract to distribute food to vulnerable and poor communities was stalled after BBE and four other companies allegedly refused to give kickbacks to certain officials.

Bhekintsha is one of five Black Economic Economic (BEE) companies fed up with the bidding process of the department's tender committee.

They allege that the contract for more than R50million t for BEE companies was cancelled because officials in the department were refused kickbacks.

The five companies had initially written to the provincial treasury bid appeals tribunal (BAT) to complain.

"We complained that the tender awarding committee had not followed the correct procedures as per the advertised tender," BBE director Vukile Mlungwana says.

He says complainants had valid grievances and presented their appeals at a hearing called by BAT.

"Our objections were upheld at the BAT hearings. The department was asked to award us the contracts. But they have since cancelled the entire project."

The project was designed to decrease the prevalence of hunger in vulnerable households and improve treatment outcome for undernourished children and adults with tuberculosis or those affected by HIV and Aids.

"We now want to obtain valid information and explanations through legal channels," said Mlungwana yesterday.

"We respected the ruling of the treasury [BAT] when they asked the department to re-evaluate and adjudicate our bids."

Social Development spokesman Mandla Ngema said: "It is the first time we hear about this route being followed. We never intended to cancel the tender.

"It's just that our submissions to the treasury were not approved. There was a huge delay over this tender for the last financial yea

The department's MEC, Meshack Radebe, has announced that a forensic probe unearthed corruption involving billions of rands.