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Johannesburg - The interim board of the cash-strapped SABC, appointed between March and September last year, is embroiled in a dispute over the awarding of a contract for security services valued at more than R183 million.
In June last year, the contract was awarded to a company ranked second in a bidding process, despite the national Treasury and the broadcaster’s own lawyers, Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys (MNS), advising against awarding it to the company.

The Treasury and MNS advised the SABC to award it to Mjayeli Security, the company ranked first in the bidding process.

So irregular was the handing of the contract to the losing bidder by the interim board, that when the SABC’s head and general manager of supply chain pointed this out, they were both summarily dismissed without proper labour practices being followed, according to allegations made in documents seen by Independent Media.

The matter was also referred to the Special Investigating Unit, which said last week it might have discovered irregularities in the awarding of the lucrative security contract by the interim board.

Request for proposal documents seen by Independent Media show that out of 45 bidders, three were shortlisted after pricing and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) evaluation in which Mjayeli received the highest score and Mafoko the second-highest.

The company Mabotwane was ranked third.

Despite Mjayeli scoring high in pricing, the board overruled its own supply chain processes and awarded the contract to Mafoko, which is still contracted to SABC, opening up a litigation process spearheaded by the former in an attempt to reverse the irregularity allegedly committed by the interim board.

According to correspondence, the interim board rejected Mjayeli as the preferred bidder because Mafoko had a level 1 BBBEEE contributor accreditation while Mjayeli had level 2.

Furthermore, the interim board argued that given the small difference between bidders - the overall scores were between 99 and 98.97 points - it was justifiable to award the contract to Mafoko, despite it not being the highest-scoring bidder.

Also, given that Mjayeli would have to take over 75% of Mafoko’s overall staff complement, the board argued that “it would just be better” if Mafoko, as the current service provider, should be appointed so as to avoid the perceived disruption of Mjayeli taking over 75% of Mafoko’s staff complement.

Simon Molaudzi, who was the SABC’s head of supply management, through his lawyers, made a submission to the standing committee on public accounts regarding his dismissal at the SABC, which reads: “The hearing of Simon Molaudzi continued in his absence following a previous date set by the SABC, which the SABC did not honour and after a medical certificate was produced by the chairperson. This was despite the fact that the SABC was aware of his medical condition as he was previously unable to attend work for a period of three months.”

Responding to the allegations, the SABC, through its spokesperson, Neo Momodu said: “The Mafoko Security contract is under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit. There is also litigation, which renders the matter sub judice. In light of this, the SABC cannot comment on this matter.”

The Sunday Independent