City of Cape Town wins case over R364 million water and sanitation tender
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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has won a Western Cape High Court case over the non-finalisation of a tender worth R364 million for the provision of professional services for water and sanitation with 11 companies, in which it had been accused of not promoting fair, equitable and transparent procurement practices in procurement.
The five companies that brought the application against the City had wanted the court to review and set aside the decisions of the City’s council meeting of October 29, 2020, when the council resolved to accept a recommendation not to conclude the contracts with any of the companies.
The applicants in the case were: Bigen Africa Services (Pty) Ltd; Zutari (Pty) Ltd; Ingerop South Africa (Pty) Ltd; Water & Wastewater Engineering (Pty) Ltd; and Project Assignments (SA) (Pty) Ltd.
In addition to the City, the municipal speaker and the city manager, the respondents were the other six firms that lost out on the tender: Knight-Piesold (Pty) Ltd; Aecom South Africa (Pty) Ltd; JG Afrika (Pty) Ltd; Gibb (Pty) Ltd; IX Engineers (Pty) Ltd and Royal HaskoningDHV (Pty) Ltd.
The six companies cited as respondents did not participate in the case.
The applicants claimed that they, together with the six companies mentioned as respondents, were all successful bidders for tender 293C for the provision of multidisciplinary professional services to the City’s water and sanitation department.
According to the recommendation, the financial implications were estimated at R364m, excluding VAT, over a 60-month period.
The main application, launched on December 11, 2020, prompted the City to bring a counter-application on March 15 for self-review to set aside three decisions it had made earlier.
These decisions were: (a) the approval by its bid specification committee on February 1, 2019 of the tender documents for tender 293C; (b) the advertising of this tender and tender documents on March 8, 2019; and (c) the decision by its bid adjudication committee on February 17, 2020 to award the tender to the applicants and the six other companies.
At this point, the applicants argued that the City was guilty of an unreasonable delay in launching their counter-application for self-review.
Western Cape High Court Judge Judith Cloete said: “There is no dispute that, objectively, the City delayed in launching its counter-application.
“However, the City argues that what it was not required to do was to launch costly and time-consuming legal proceedings in circumstances where it had the option of solving the matter quickly and cost-effectively through a pending statutory process.”
In her ruling, the judge chose to overlook the delay and ordered: “The main application is dismissed and the counter-application succeeds.”