No flaws in R2bn tender, says Telkom

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Telkom has denied accusations that it used unfair methods to award a R2billion wireless network contract.

Business Times reported on Sunday that when the state fixed line operator accepted a tender from Telsaf Data and Ericsson, the company's directors altered documents to tip the scales in favour of Ericsson.

According to the report Telkom chief executive Reuben September enjoys a close relationship with some of the directors of Ericsson, one of them being account executive Rendi Geldenhuys.

Telkom yesterday released a statement denying the claims.

The statement says: "The unfounded allegations concerning claims, indicating a flawed procurement process and the alteration of documents in favour of the successful bidder, are refuted by the company.

"The decision to award the tender to Ericsson and Telsaf Data was discussed by the company's executive committee after a recommendation by the company's procurement review council."

Telkom also said the unsuccessful bidder, Maredi Telecommunication, which was the most highly opposed to the tender process, achieved unsatisfactory scores in certain critical categories of the tender and as such it was disqualified.

Telkom spokesman Pynee Chetty said the company would not be able to provide exact details about the categories in which Maredi scored unsatisfactorily.

He said: "We can't spell it out publicly but the unsuccessful bidder can request a debriefing and to see exactly where they went wrong. I don't know if they've asked for one, though."

Dopek Pater, an analyst at Africa Analysis, said that when large organisations such as Telkom begin outsourcing certain projects they usually use well-known vendors.

Pater said: "You want someone who knows what they're doing and with credibility and a track record rather than a guinea pig."