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Dept defends R2m training tender

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Competing bidders questioned if the tender complied with supply chain management processes

Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Social Development has defended a R2 million tender that was awarded to Dru-A FET College to provide first aid and basic fire-fighting training, where a 30 percent advance payment was made to the company.

The training, which started in June this year, is offered to non-profit organisations in all five districts of the Province.

Competing bidders questioned if the tender complied with supply chain management processes.

The owner of the college, Dirk Andrews, was the former EFF provincial treasurer, whose party membership was suspended for four years in 2017.

At the time, EFF provincial leader Aubrey Baartman stated that Andrews, along with former EFF provincial secretary George Nyakama, had been found guilty by the national disciplinary committee of misappropriating party funds to the value of R82 000.

He stated that both Nyakama and Andrews could apply to have their membership reinstated after the four-year suspension period had passed, provided that they have a clean record of good behaviour.

Spokesperson for the provincial Department of Social Development, Gamiem Abrahams, stated that an advance payment, equivalent to 30 percent of the contract value, was paid to the college for the logistical arrangements.

“To date the service provider has completed training in the Francis Baard, ZF Mgcawu and Pixley ka Seme districts, which equates to more than the advance given. The department received 16 bids for this service and we are satisfied that the market has been properly tested and that the costs are market related.”

Abrahams added that the college passed a security clearance and was found to be compliant.

“The department is not aware that the successful bidder is or was a member of the EFF or that he faced internal disciplinary charges. No criminal charges were picked up during the vetting process.”

Abrahams stated that there was absolutely no possible conflict of interest when the tender was awarded. “I can with a clear conscience and with absolute and undoubted certainty confirm that there was none. The department prides itself on a very high level of professionalism and ethics. The notion that there was any wrongdoing in this bid is devoid of any truth and substance.”

He stated that the tender, which was advertised on March 2, followed a proper and fair adjudication process.

“There was no quotation requested as it was an open bidding process. The department dealt with the matter in a compliant and professional manner. All supply chain management processes were followed.”

Abrahams indicated that the training was accredited, while all documentation on file was in good order and available for scrutiny at any given time.

“Dru-A FET College is a registered entity and entered into an agreement with Leronsa Training and Development which possesses the required Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP-SETA) accreditation. The owner is accredited as an assessor, moderator and facilitator. The credentials and curriculum vitaes of the facilitator, moderators and assessors are on file and are available for scrutiny.”

Abrahams added that training was being provided to 400 non-profit organisations throughout the Province.

“One facilitator is appointed to train 30 attendees in accredited first aid and basic fire-fighting training as per the SITA requirements. No exception was allowed on this or any other aspect of the contract.”

EFF provincial spokesperson Obakeng Lechuti stated that Andrews was considered to be an “EFF member placed on suspension”.

“The EFF has been observing his conduct under suspension. All we can say is, he is conducting himself very well and shows positive efforts towards the disciplinary actions taken against him.

“We will allow him to act according to the terms listed in his suspension.”

Andrews declined to comment.