Mthetwa defends East Cape TETRA contract

Police minister Nathi Mthetwa has defended the awarding of a clost-to-R1 billion Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) contract to a black empowered consortium led by Integcomm.
Mthetwa, in an answer to questions asked in Parliament, also confirmed that the bidding process was cancelled at one stage as a result of irregularities. In a written answer tabled in the National Assembly yesterday, he said the bid was cancelled on 23 September last year “because there were deviations in the bid documentation (in respect of the requirements identified in the Bid Invitation) received from the bidders.”
He added that the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) of the South African Police Service (SAPS) advertised the cancellation in the Government Tender Bulletin of 10 October.
“However, the cancellation of this Bid was subject to the approval of the Accounting Officer of the SAPS.” The accounting officer is the commissioner of police, currently Acting National Commissioner Tim Williams (following the suspension of Jackie Selebi and his being charged with corruption).
Mthetwa`s answer states the R920 757 240 contract was awarded on 12 December, “subsequent to a bid invitation on 14 September” in Government Tender Bulletin No. 2502.
The companies that submitted bids were:
•           Siemens (Pty) Ltd
•           RDL Technologies (Pty) Ltd
•           Integcomm (Pty) Ltd
•           Plessey lkwezi Consortium
•           Altech Alcom Matomo (Pty) Ltd
•           Emcom Africa (Pty) Ltd
“The successful bidder (that scored the highest points in the bid evaluation phase), was Integcomm (Pty) Ltd”.
Mthetwa adds the Integcomm consortium includes Integcomm, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Saab Grintek.
The police minister says the tender was reinstated for three reasons:
•           Urgency: It is essential that this bid be finalised, considering that it is essential that the network system is in place ahead of the forthcoming National Elections and the Confederation and 2010 Soccer World Cup tournaments.
•           Availability of funds: Funds have been reserved for this network system.
•           Best interest: The activation and finalisation of this Bid will be in the best interest of the SAPS.
The minister did not say when the bid was reinstated.
The answer further explains that the BAC decided to cancel the bid, not radio technical experts forming part of the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC).
“The BEC and BAC expressed concerns regarding the technical standard contained in the responses received from the bidders under evaluation.” 
However, afterwards the “BEC and BAC determined that the offered products did not differ significantly from the required standards, and were found to be substantially responsive to the bid requirements.”