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Ministry dragged to court over M2.7m tender


Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

THE Commercial Court will tomorrow resume a case in which a local company, Pentagram Construction, is challenging the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation’s decision to award a M2.7 million tender to their competitor, Unik Construction, last November.

When the matter was first heard on 4 December 2015, Pentagram Construction had argued through its lawyer, Advocate Nkole Falatsi that the ministry had awarded the tender to Unik Construction “erroneously and without transparency”.

Justice Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane had then issued an order directing the ministry to immediately provide Pentagram Construction with the Tender Evaluation Report. However, the ministry did not issue the report until Pentagram was on the verge of filing a contempt of court case on 8 February 2016.

Following the submission of the Tender Evaluation Report by the ministry through their legal team, Advocates T.J. Senoko and Brown, Justice Chaka-Makhooane postponed the hearing to Monday. The ministry is the first respondent while Unik and Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe have also been cited as second and third respondents respectively.

Advocate Falatsi argued that Unik should not have been awarded the tender because it was not recommended by the consultant, Molepe Quantity Surveyors, following an evaluation of the tender bids.

Advocate Falatsi also argued that the tender evaluation report would show that Unik was not recommended by the consultant to get the tender.

According to the report, which the Sunday Express has in its possession, on 7 July 2015 the ministry invited tenders from category A and B  contractors for the construction of bakery and potato plant workshops and renovations to existing dormitories at Thabana-Li-’Mele Youth Centre.

The report notes that 13 construction companies, namely Unik, Friendly, Afro Asia, Phokeng, SB, Pentagram, Swift, MPK, SPT, Pheko, Letseka, Selemela and HS, submitted their tender bids.

The quantity surveyor, states the report, estimated the tender amount to be M2, 774, 049.09.

Unik was the lowest amount among the bidders, with M2, 341, 165.25, while the highest was Phokeng with M4, 504, 822.63. Pentagram had M2, 656, 320.84.

The evaluation procedure was based on tender prices and submission requirements which included fully priced bills of quantities for building works main contract, certified of bona fide tendering, completed and signed bid submission form, compulsory site inspection, copies of trade licence, valid tax clearance, copies of contractor’s certificate, bid security of M10 000 and post qualification forms.

The report also indicates that following the evaluation process, the consultant concluded, among others, that “most tenderers provided comprehensive responses to requisites”.

“Unik Construction has submitted the lowest tender, to the sum of M2, 341, 165.25, but (the amount) was considered too low for this proposed building works,” the quantity surveyor notes.

“We recommend that the tender award be considered between the following contractors and we also believe that they are financially and technically capable of executing the work: Afro Asia with M2, 581 909.56, Pentagram with M2, 651, 954.64, SPT with M2, 693, 678.64, Swift with M2, 723, 037.06 and Pheko with M2, 742, 948.30.”

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