The Western Cape Department of Infrastructure suffered a major setback in the Western Cape High Court as the judge ruled to set aside the DA-led government’s decision to award H&I Civil and Building (Pty) Ltd a multi-million rand tender for the construction of the new Manenberg School of Skills.
Also read: Former municipal officials in court for corruption in R46 million tender fraud
This comes after Furipoint turned to the court following an unsuccessful bid to secure the tender despite scoring more points in the bidding process.
Furipoint was deemed responsive and scored more points than H&I. It was also lower in cost than H&I, according to court papers.
However, the department accepted H&I’s bid.
The department reasoned that Furipoint’s financial statements showed no evidence that it had the financial capacity to sustain the project.
“The department cited the applicant’s age of approximately two years and its failure to provide a bank rating letter,” said Western Cape High Court Judge Hayley Slingers.
“Neither of these factors are objective nor justifiable and were not contained in the tender invite.”
“On the contrary, these factors undermine the objectives of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Act to transform the construction industry and to open it up to emerging companies.”
“Consequently, the decision to pass over the applicant and to award the tender to the third respondent was contrary to the provisions of section 2(1)(f) of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA).”
The project was initially scheduled to take 87 weeks to complete at a cost of R84 million.
Upon completion, the school is expected to offer pupils who would potentially drop out of the mainstream academic curriculum, the opportunity to pursue their own passion in a skills education environment.
Speaking to IOL, spokesperson for the department, Ntobeko Mbingeleli, said they were informed of the judgment on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are awaiting the formal correspondence, whereafter we will study the judgment before we are able to decide on the way forward.”
Meanwhile, Furipoint director Nawaal Rajah said that they were elated with the judgement. “It is unfortunate that transformation in the construction industry is affected by the incorrect decisions made by the bid adjudication committee,” said Rajah. “Whether they are doing it intentionally or unintentionally, only they know. It is important to note we do request that government departments need to be more vigilant to ensure fairness and transparency when adjudication does take place with tenders.”
H&I said it could not comment on the matter due to contractual stipulations.
Taxi protests: We cannot bypass tender processes, MEC tells bosses