Prasa stopped in its tracks over 'ill-conceived' emergency security tender

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 3, 2020


Cape Town – The embattled Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has been ordered to hold its horses on its “ill-conceived” emergency security tender, which has been said to undermine Western Cape High Court orders.

Train security service providers Sechaba Protection Services, Chuma Security Services and Supreme Security Services, represented by Mark Hess Attorneys and Vusa-Isizwe, filed an interdict on June 22 against Prasa’s implementation of the tender.

Under the tender, the newly appointed service providers were supposed to be deployed by today.

The companies charged that the tender was unlawful and in contempt of Judge President John Hlophe’s 2019 order.

Last November, more than 1 000 rail security guard contracts were terminated by Prasa, but Judge Hlophe granted relief that the parastatal continue the security contracts on the same terms and conditions until alternative measures were in place.

He further ordered that within 30 days, Prasa must have an “adequate contingency safety plan”, approved by the Railway Safety Regulator.

Sechaba managing director Adiel de Bruyns argued that to date none of the orders had been followed.

“There has been wholesale non-compliance. The security companies were forced to approach the court on two occasions this year, in March and on June 19 before Judge Gamble. Gamble ordered that Prasa and administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo file another affidavit stating why they should not be held in contempt for among other things, non-compliance with Judge President Hlophe’s order,” said De Bruyns.

Instead of filing as Gamble instructed, Prasa allegedly took a decision to implement an “emergency process for the procurement of private security for physical security”.

De Bruyns said: “No explanation was given as to what has come of the 2019 tender. The purpose of the emergency procurement process was to follow a closed tender process to appoint pre-identified service providers. The entire procurement process is being conducted in under two weeks.

“Usually a procurement process takes months to complete. It is unheard of that a process, which on the first respondent’s own calculations amounts to more than R600 million of public funds, can be done in two weeks. This process is flawed.

“The ill-conceived alleged emergency procurement process of Prasa and Mpondo (was an) attempt to undermine the intention and purpose of Judge President Hlophe,” said De Bruyns.

On Tuesday, Judge Andre le Grange ordered that Prasa and Mpondo be in the court on August 24.

Pending this, Le Grange said, “Prasa are immediately interdicted from proceeding with the emergency procurement process. They must show cause in August and state reasons why the interim interdict should not be extended to the final determination of this matter.”

He said they also had to show why they should not be found to have acted in contempt of the court by initiating the new procurement process.

Prasa did not respond to questions yesterday.

Cape Times

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