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Athlone towers tender probe

An aerial picture of the Athlone power station towers. Picture Ian Landsberg

An aerial picture of the Athlone power station towers. Picture Ian Landsberg

Published Aug 30, 2012

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Cape Town - The city of Cape Town intends to investigate the R9 million tender for the decommissioning of the Athlone power station, after the ANC cried foul that the process was alleged to have been anti-competitive and unfair.

It emerged in council on Wednesday that Aurecon, the company that conducted a pre-feasibility study at the power station and compiled the tender for the city, had also allegedly won the tender for the decommissioning.

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It will cost the city R11m to close down the station. Originally the process was supposed to take place over three years, but on Wednesday there was a proposal from the city to extend this to five.

The city wanted the council to approve this on Wednesday, but the ANC slammed the process, saying it was anti-competitive. Mayor Patricia de Lille withdrew the item and called for further investigation.

Bheki Hadebe, ANC councillor and a member of the city’s finance portfolio committee, said Aurecon had been unfairly placed because it had been involved in the two-year pre-feasibility study, completed in 2010.

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Hadebe said the company had been involved in drafting the tender, including details such as cost estimates and a proposed work plan.

“Where is the competitive advantage, when the referee becomes the player?” Hadebe said.

The party was not questioning the capabilities of the company, but said the tender process went against the city’s policy of opening opportunities to all.

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Xolani Sotashe, ANC chief whip, said this incident showed big gaps in the city’s supply chain management.

Hadebe said the company had already scored several points, because it knew exactly what the criteria were for key sections in the tender.

Ganief Hendricks, Al Jama-ah councillor, said it was an example of “tender manipulation”.

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De Lille called for the item to be withdrawn from Wednesday’s agenda: “It’s obvious some councillors have more facts than are available.”

In its bid to win the tender, Aurecon refers to its experience at the power station.

“Through our involvement in compiling a scope of works for this project as part of our previous appointment, we believe we have demonstrated an integral understanding of the complexities involved and the work required,” states the company document.

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