Vivian Reddy and President Jacob Zuma. File photo: Terry Haywood.

Johannesburg - A R1.25 billion contract to supply electricity meters to the City of Johannesburg was manipulated to benefit Durban businessman Vivian Reddy, said to be a close friend of President Jacob Zuma, according to a report on Friday.

According to the Mail & Guardian a number of key discrepancies in the contract had been uncovered.

There were detailed allegations that an initial technical evaluation score-sheet was amended to improve the results for Reddy's company, Edison Power.

The revised scoring had pushed another bidder, Hefcom, below the  cut-off 70 percent technical score.

When price was factored in Hefcom would have scored better than Edison. Hefcom's bid was half the cost of Edison's.

According to the Mail & Guardian, a letter informing Edison it had won the bid was dated before City Power, the City of Johannesburg's utility, supply chain management even received the bid recommendation or the chair of the adjudication committee had signed off on the decision.

Edison's share of the contract was also increased from the initial recommendation of a R600 million share of an R800 million contract to an exclusive contract for R1.25 billion.

The City and its utility City Power, which procured the meters, had denied any irregularities, according to the newspaper.

According to the report there was no evidence suggesting foul play on the part of Reddy or Edison.

The Democratic Alliance said the Public Protector should investigate the tender.

"These accusations cast serious doubt over the legitimacy and integrity of the processes followed in the awarding of this tender," Mmusi Maimane, DA caucus leader in Johannesburg, said in a  statement.

He said Public Protector Thuli Madonsela must, among other things, investigate why and how the bid scores were changed and why  the tender was inflated to R1.25 billion. - Sapa