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Cape Town - A company that lost a beach cleaning contract with the City of Cape Town after doing the work for 14 years says the decision was “vindictive” and also in contravention of a High Court judgment.
And Beach Clean SA’s owner Rogerio Viana has instructed his legal team to start contempt of court proceedings against the city.
“The city would rather have dirty beaches and be in contempt of a court order than do what they are supposed to do and deliver a service to the ratepayers of Cape Town.”
The matter will also be dealt with in a council meeting on Wednesday during question time when Mayor Patricia de Lille will be asked to explain why she did not intervene when concerns were raised about the tender process before the costly legal battle. The question, submitted by councillor JC Krynauw, will ask whether De Lille will appoint an independent commission of inquiry to find out what went wrong.
Beach Clean SA was one of several companies that submitted bids to clean city beaches last year. However, the company was penalised for not filling in its pricing schedule on the tender document, and the city’s bid adjudication committee declared the bid non-responsive.
Viana expressed concerns about the way in which the city had evaluated the tenders. He also pointed out that the winning company, Khazimla Cleaning and Gardening Services, had almost the same prices for its services.
The Western Cape High Court ruled that the city was too formalistic in its consideration of the tenders, and it should have asked Beach Clean SA to explain why it had omitted several prices from its schedule. The court also accepted an accountant’s analysis that the similarities between Beach Clean and Khazimla’s prices were unlikely to be coincidental.
Justice Blignaut ordered the city to set aside its award of the tender to Khazimla and to re-evaluate Beach Clean’s bid.
But the city has now decided, after reconsidering Beach Clean SA’s bid, that the tender is still non-responsive - for the same reasons that it rejected the tender during the first adjudication process. This means that the city used the same criteria which the court ruled were unlawful.
Viana’s legal team, Werksmans Attorneys, noted in its response to the city that it was “astounded” by the city’s rejection of the tender.
“One cannot but be driven to the conclusion that, for reasons unknown, your rejection of our client’s tender has been done with malice aforethought, and that you bear our client ill-will and are determined that, irrespective of the merits of its bid, it should not be awarded the tender - regardless of the further costs that the city puts itself at risk of incurring.”
The attorneys said the existing costs order against the city were already in excess of R500 000.
Mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson said there was never any evidence to back Viana’s allegations of corruption.
“There is no evidence of the need for any commission of inquiry into the matter. The issue is simply how incomplete tender documents are to be handled in future. The city will take note of the judgment and put in place corrective measures, where they are required, in order to avoid a repeat.”