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Storm over driver’s licences deal  


maseruLekhetho Ntsukunyane

A LOCAL company that tendered to print driver’s licences has threatened legal action should the Ministry of Public Works and Transport award the tender to South African company, Muvoni Biometrics and Smart Card Solutions.

The company, Q7 (Pty) Ltd, claims it was among the companies that tendered for the provision of driver’s licences before the ministry cancelled the tender “on the promise that there will be another tender process initiated”.

However, through its lawyers, K. Ndebele Chambers, Q7 says it discovered through a newspaper article “that the ministry has awarded the same contract to a South African-based company identified as Muvoni Biometrics and Smart Card Solutions”.

A letter from the lawyers, dated 22 July 2016 and addressed to the ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS) Majakathata Mokoena-Thakhisi, reads: “We are the legal representatives of Q7 (Pty) Ltd, as we hereby stand and act. Client informs us that sometime earlier this year, your ministry invited interested parties to tender for the provision of services for the printing of licences for the department of traffic and transport.

“Client informs us that it was among the companies that had tendered for the said project. Client further informs us that on the date of the opening of the tender box, a decision was made by your ministry to cancel the tender process on the premise that there will be another tender process initiated.”

The lawyers state they “discovered via a newspaper article” in Public Eye that the ministry had awarded the “very same contract” to Muvoni Biometrics and Smart Card Solutions.

“Client has instructed us that it strenuously objects to the award of the said contract to the company identified. We have also been instructed to institute legal proceedings to interdict you from entering into a contract with Muvoni.

“We write to you therefore to warn you that you should not enter into the said contract pending the institution of the intended legal proceedings and finalisation thereof. Should you continue, despite this warning, you do so at your own peril,” further reads the missive.

Contacted for comment, Mr Mokoena-Thakhisi yesterday confirmed receiving the letter, but queried the veracity of part of the letter.

“I only received that letter yesterday (Friday) at around 5:30 in the evening, just after working hours. How come you already have a copy? As you can notice, that letter emanates from an article published in another newspaper and part of its contents are not true.”

The PS said contrary to the Public Eye story, the tender was not awarded to the South African firm by the ministry.

“It is not true that the ministry awarded a tender to Muvoni. The company just had a meeting with the minister (Tšoeu Mokeretla), but that does not mean a contract has been signed,” said Mr Mokoena-Thakhisi.

The PS conceded he was still new to the ministry, having been moved from the Trade and Industry ministry early this month.

“I am relying mainly on records, but I can assure you that if that contract is signed, I would have to be involved. But like I said, I received that letter after working hours yesterday and I am yet to discuss it with the legal department and see what we do about it,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to privy sources within the ministry, plans were at an advanced stage to award the tender to Muvoni following the approval of a contingency fund by the Ministry of Finance for the multi-million contract estimated at M8.7 million.

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