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Dali’s Madiba bust tender above board

Parliament - There was nothing untoward about awarding a closed tender to Dali Tambo to create a bust of former president Nelson Mandela, Parliament said on Tuesday.

“Nothing was untoward,” secretary to Parliament Michael Coetzee said as he explained how the process of commissioning an artist for the bust unfolded.

Dali Tambo and his wife Rachel Tambo pose for photographers on arrival at the opening of Parliament. Credit: GCIS

“We had a few weeks from February to commission an artist and a process to get the bust done. I think it was less than a month which put us in a difficult postion.”

The issue of erecting a statue of Madiba had initially been discussed by a multi-party committee in the second Parliament, but was put on the back burner.

Discussions to build a bust and erect it inside the National Assembly building resumed last year, but Coetzee said the committee only gave him the “hurry up” order in February this year.

“They (the committee) made a decision... that we should have a bust on a plinth outside the steps of the National Assembly and then we should have the statue,” Coetzee said.

“The bust is 1.5 metres wide and 2.2 metres high.”

Because of the limited time from February to April 28, when the bust is due to be unveiled, Coetzee said a decision was made to put the project out to a closed tender.

Parliament's supply chain management policy allowed this to happen because it was an “emergency procedure”, he said.

“The initial quotation was 1.89 (million rand) without VAT... given the timeframe of less than five weeks of construction from start to end of this particular project,” Coetzee said.

“When we engaged with the service provider to change the scope... now the bust was coming from inside the building of Parliament to outside... the scope of the project changed quite significantly and that brought about further changes in the cost.”

Coetzee was explaining the escalation in cost to R2.5 million.

The past weekend, the Sunday Times reported that tender regulations were not followed because Parliament considered the project “emergency expenditure”, according to an opinion by Parliament's supply chain management section.

The contract was awarded to Koketso Growth, owned by Tambo, the son of ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo.

Koketso was commissioned to create the statue of Mandela at the Union Buildings, unveiled on December 16, a day after his funeral.

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