The forum had warned the company on March 28 that it would forcefully close down the construction site, until their demands were met
THE FIVE-year lease for high-speed printing machines at the Northern Cape Department of Education was cancelled last week.
An e-mail was sent to all bidders on April 12 informing them of the cancellation, although no further information or reasons were provided.
This follows after the box containing all the bids for the tender was set alight outside the offices of the Department of Education on April 6, supposedly by local service providers who felt excluded from participating in the bid.
Members of the Northern Cape Progressive Business Forum also chased a contractor away from a construction project at West End Primary School on Thursday last week.
The forum had warned the company on March 28 that it would forcefully close down the construction site, until their demands were met.
The secretary of the Northern Cape Progressive Business Forum, Kagisho Nkomo, said that the construction tender, apparently worth R36 million, was awarded to a company from Gauteng.
“At a briefing session for potential bidders that was held at West End Primary School in September 2017, we rejected the list of sub-contractors that was provided by the Department of Education in the bid document, as it was not inclusive and intentionally excluded many local contractors,” said Nkomo.
“In correspondence with the company that was awarded the tender, the business forum demanded that 30 percent of the project, which entailed the construction of additional, new facilities at West End Primary School, should be awarded to local entrepreneurs.”
Nkomo indicated that the business forum would administer and monitor the process.
The contractor in turn, on April 3, advised the Department of Education that it had appointed a sub-contractor from a list of approved names on the bidding stages as part of the requirements.
“We strongly believe that the matter is beyond our control or comment and humbly request the department resolve the matter soonest, to avoid stoppages that will affect our programme.”
Spokesperson for the Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said that the department would await the outcome of the criminal investigation into charges of malicious damage to government property before it would re-advertise for the bid for the lease of high-speed printers.
The charges were opened after the box containing the bid documents was set alight on the same day that the submission for tenders had closed on April 6.
“The tender documents for the high-speed machines were torched by unruly protesters. We will await the outcome of the investigation to conclude on the way forward. In the meantime, as a temporary solution, we have put systems and measures in place to deliver in this examination function,” he added.
Van der Merwe stated that he would only be able to respond to enquiries regarding the contract at West End Primary School today.