Politics / 31 October 2012, 10:13am / MOLOKO MOLOTO
Limpopo - The Limpopo Department of Health has awarded its controversial R200 million medical waste contract to a mystery consortium whose name it has refused to divulge.
But departmental insiders and the director of one of the losing bidders, Ian du Randt, told The Star on Tuesday that the lucrative contract had been awarded to Buhle Waste and Ingwe Waste Management – the same politically well-connected company that was taken to court last year for benefiting from a tender that was allegedly irregularly awarded.
This comes after the Pretoria High Court instructed the department to re-evaluate the tender following complaints by the losing bidders that Buhle and Ingwe had won the contract as a result of political interference, nepotism and the flouting of supply chain management rules.
The three-year tender involved the removal, treatment and disposal of medical waste from Limpopo’s 40 hospitals and more than 360 clinics, at R4.1m a month.
It had been awarded in 2010 to a consortium owned by businessmen with links to top ANC officials in Limpopo, including axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.
David Sekete and David Mogale are the owners of Buhle and Ingwe respectively.
Limpopo Department of Health spokeswoman Sne Gumede confirmed on Tuesday that the readjudication process was completed on September 18, but refused to divulge the winning bidder or even to discuss the contract.
“The department has communicated the decision and the reason for the decision of the bid adjudication committee to the parties concerned,” she said.
But an insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not official spokespersons, said the department had thrown a veil of secrecy around the contract.
This was despite Treasury regulations and the Public Finance Management Act requiring government departments and other public entities to be transparent in their adjudication of tenders.
Du Randt, the director of Compass Waste – a Durban-based company that took the department to court – said the department had refused to say why his company had been disqualified again.
He said the department had defied the court’s order to inform him within three days about the winning bidder, after the readjudication process.
“We received the notification only after we instructed our attorneys to put pressure on the department via the state attorney,” said Du Randt.
This came after he launched a high court bid to nullify the tender, alleging a flawed adjudication process and interference.
This followed complaints from employees, including a senior manager in the department, Morongwa Mohapi, that there was political interference in the awarding of the tender. Du Randt maintained that Buhle and Ingwe had been awarded the contract yet again.
Sekete said he was unaware that the contract had been re-awarded to his consortium.
“I am still waiting for the [re-appointment] letter. It will be good if you can get it for me,” said Sekete.
He refused to comment on whether he was friends with Dr Ntsile Kgaphole, the man who had chaired the department’s technical evaluating committee during the re-adjudication process. This was despite Kgaphole previously admitting that he knew Sekete from their university days.
Kgaphole could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Gumede said the department was not aware of the alleged friendship between Kgaphole and Sekete.
Sekete and Mogale were part of the Tshumisano consortium that was awarded the same tender, worth R250m, in 2005.
A company in which Malema had an interest, Blue Nightingale, was initially part of Tshumisano, but his 3 percent shares were later bought out for R150 000.
Mogale, the owner of Ingwe Waste, is the business partner of two businessmen whose company was dropped after initially bidding for the contract. The pair, Selbie Manthata and Ali Boshielo, are co-owners of Limpopo Medical Waste, which had tendered as part of a joint venture with Buhle Waste.
Manthata is the business partner of Premier Cassel Mathale, while Boshielo is a close associate of Malema.