A bird's eye view of the CTICC. Picture: Jason Boud

A LOSING bidder alleges the awarding of the R700 million Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) architectural tender was unlawful.

There is also an issue of a conflict of interest relating to the marriage of a former CTICC chief executive officer and one of the winning architects, who has been involved with the CTICC for several years.

Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects lodged a formal complaint in terms of the Municipal Supply Chain Management Regulations for the tender awarded on February 27. Other companies have also objected, but this company’s objection was the only official one. Piet Bakker of Stauch Vorster Architects, Anya van der Merwe of Van Der Merwe Miszewski Architects (VDMMA) and Mokena Makeka of Makeka Design Lab were awarded the tender.

The Architectural Design Team tender for the R700m CTICC expansion was announced on Thursday amid much fanfare. But the CTICC management says it won’t budge.

Greg Truen, one of the directors at Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, states in his formal complaint that Stauch Vorster and VDMMA were part of Foreshore Architects who prepared the designs used to establish the “project scope, project brief, building requirements and budget for the tender”.

Clause 27 of the municipal supply chain management regulations states that “no person, adviser or corporate entity involved with the bid specification committee, or director of such corporate entity, may bid for any resulting contracts”.

“Clearly, they were involved with the bid specification committee. CTICC2 Architects Association, which included Stauch Vorster and VDMMA, were able to prepare a design that most closely met the requirements of the tender in terms of design and budget precisely because they were party to the preparation of the project over a protracted period and because their preliminary work was used as the basis of the tender. The award of the contract to disqualified parties is unlawful,” wrote Truen.

He said his company had also found that Van der Merwe was married to the former CTICC managing director Dirk Elzinga, who is the managing director of Convention Industry Consultants (CIC).

CIC is employed by Amsterdam RAI which has been responsible for the management of the CTICC since 2001.

“Can you confirm that CIC have in no way been involved with the preparation of the project? We note that Jan van den Bosch, who sat on the evaluation panel, is currently the executive vice-president of the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre,” wrote Truen.

Truen said questionable tender awards of this nature could not be allowed any more. He said taking it on review in the courts would cost more than R1 million.

“In any other province this would be an enormous issue,” said Truen.

Other “ethical” matters were also raised in his complaint.

Convenco chairman Andrew Boraine said he was aware of the matter.

“It is being dealt with by Convenco in terms of the relevant legislation. The tender for Architectural Services was awarded by the bid adjudication committee, on the recommendation of the bid evaluation committee, after a strict bidding process was followed,” said Boraine.

He said Convenco could not overturn or “set aside” the decision of the bid adjudication committee.

“Having already made the award we are advised that Convenco cannot overturn that decision because it is now functus officio. The decision is thus final,” said Borraine.

He said objections were expected after any high-profile tender where losing bidders raised a “plethora” of legal issues to have it overturned.

Boraine said he could not respond in detail to the specific allegations as the matter could end up in court.

“In this complaint, they will have to go to court to have the decision reviewed,” said Boraine.

CTICC CEO Rashid Toefy said: “The design tender was awarded following a strict two-stage bidding process complying with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). The bid evaluation committee made a recommendation to the bid adjudication committee, which made the final award. Their final and binding decision was to appoint the award-winning Cape Town trio of architects announced (on Thursday).” - Cape Times

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