Furore as SABC awards security tender to 'losing bidder'

The decision on who to award the security tender to split the board into two camps, according to papers seen by the SowetanLIVE.
The decision on who to award the security tender to split the board into two camps, according to papers seen by the SowetanLIVE.
Image: FILE

The SABC’s interim board’s decision to appoint Mafoko Security Patrol for a R185 million security tender divided the board into two, according to a transcript of a board meeting obtained by SowetanLIVE.

The transcript show that Mjayeli was ranked the highest bidder with 99 points followed by Mafoko with 98.87 points and the third highest ranked company was Mabotwane Security with 98.14.

Two SABC executive members, former Acting COO Bessie Tugwana and acting CFO Thabile Dlamini, did not agree with the decision to topple Mjayeli Security as the preferred and recommended service provider by the board and had instead proposed that if Mafoko were considered over Mjayeli, third positioned Mabotwane Security should have also formed part of the discussion by the interim board when making a final determination about the winner of the bid.

Dlamini, in her submission, had said that Mabotwane should feature to ensure fairness in the process, as the company was only few points shy of the two leading competitors.

However, the suggestion was dismissed by Khanyisile Kweyama, who in her response gave an analogy of three horses running a race.

“If they get to the finishing line, and the one goes by the nose, and the one goes maybe over here, so if you are making an assessment of which one is the winner you use these two. You don’t take the one that was coming up that could have stumbled and not even made it by the nose,” read the transcript.

The two executives, the document show, were also joined by deceased Group Executive for legal Sizwe Vilakazi who advised the board to consider serious and justifiable reasons for not endorsing the recommended company as decided by the Bid Evaluation Committee.

The interim board, which was led by Kweyama and veteran journalist Mathatha Tsedu as chairperson and deputy chairperson respctively, went ahead and appointed Mafoko despite the fact that their price was R8.8 million higher than the R176 million amount budgeted for by the SABC for the tender.

Mjayeli Security company had submitted a bid price which was R5.7 million higher than the budget and R2.3 million less than what was submitted by Mafoko Security.

Another executive, who appeared to be frustrated by the interim board’s arguments to endorse Mafoko, was Bessie Tugwana who out of frustration according to the transcript of the meeting, said she was confused by the board decision and attempt to deviate from the panel’s recommendations.

Tugwana had said if they (SABC executives) knew the board was going to change the decision of the BEC, executives would have long finalised the appointment.

However, the transcript show that in justifying the appointment of Mafoko, the interim board supported by acting CEO Tseliso Ralitabo, argued that the company had an advantage as it was at the time, on contract with the public broadcaster in Auckland Park, and other provinces.

Kweyama, the document shows, endorsed Ralitabo’s submission.

Another reason that appears to have been advanced by the board to appoint Mafoko was that the SABC had never recorded any complaints or dissatisfaction with their work.

An official from the SABC’s supply chain management challenged the board’s decision in the same meeting to appoint Mafoko based on the advantage that they were on site. He said the important aspects were pricing and BEE score.

Tsedu was also recorded in the transcript as having sought clarity on the scoring of the three companies but at the end he too agreed with the board to endorse Mafoko for appointment.

He however, advised that before the board resolution was captured into record, there should be an agreement that a condition should be put in place that Supply Chain must negotiate the pricing with Mafoko in order to bring it down.

The board, according to the transcript, acknowledged that some officials were not happy with its decision, especially acting CFO Thabile Dlamini.

SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu said: “The Mafoko Security contract is under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). There is also litigation which renders the matter sub judice. Therefore, the SABC cannot comment on this matter.”

Simon Malatjie of Mabotwane Security said they had no comment on the matter.

Mjayeli Security’s Jones Maphalaphathwa said after the award to Mafoko by the SABC, his company wrote to the SABC requesting access to information on the tender, but he said while they were waiting to be provided the information, the SABC filed an application in court asking for an order protecting them from releasing the information to them.

He said they intend to go court to challenge the award by SABC to Mafoko Security.

“We were just waiting for the documents so that we can go ahead with the legal action,” he said.

Speaking for the Interim Board, Tebogo Malatji of Malatji Kanyane Incorporated said: “Firstly, our clients dispute that you have a true record of the minutes of 30 June 2017 especially because you are misquoting what was discussed and recorded in the minutes of that meeting.

“For instance the allegations that Mafoko submitted a bid price which was R8.8 million more than what the SABC had budgeted for is incorrect. Secondly, the characterisation of Ms Tugwana and Ms Dlamini as being against the decision of the Board and what they said during the deliberations is equally factually incorrect,” said Malatji.

When asked if he believed that the board decision was fair and followed due process, Malatji said: “Pricing is but one of many considerations in awarding a tender. In this case it did not make much of a difference given the value of the contract as well as the fact that there was a 0.13 point difference between the two bidders. Moreover, supply chain management was instructed by the Board to negotiate a better price with Mafoko having regard to the price difference.”

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