Questions are being raised about a “mysterious” R1-billion Tshwane smart city tender which was allegedly tailored to suit Huawei.
The Sunday Times reported that DA leaders are demanding answers from Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa about the tender.
According to the report, Mokgalapa and four of his officials were “wined and dined in China by Huawei” while local officials prepared the tender which will suit Huawei.
Mokgalapa, however, said his Huawei trip to China will not influence the tender and that the process is open to the public.
“Any interested party being encouraged to apply. There is no intention to award Huawei this or any other tender as a result of mayor Mokgalapa’s recent trip,” his spokesperson said.
Huawei said in a statement that it has no dealings with the City of Tshwane and that the trip was aimed at showcasing its latest ICT products and services.
Huawei’s products and services include solutions which address problems like crime, unemployment, traffic congestion, and environmental problems.
“Huawei prides itself on complying with local laws and regulations in all markets we operate in,” the company said.
“Huawei’s code of business conduct prohibits any employees from undertaking any activities that breach any laws, or engage in unethical business practices.”
Huawei partners with Department of Communications
While Huawei does not directly bid for government contracts, the company works closely with the South African government on projects to improve the country.
Huawei South Africa, for example, recently partnered with the Department of Communications to launch free online and on-site training in 5G technology.
The company said the training is targeted at 6,000 postgraduate ICT students and practitioners.
Huawei added that it would also send ten university students on a study trip to China as part of its annual “Seeds for the Future” programme.
“We recently launched a free 5G training course at the University of Pretoria, WITS, and UJ and plan to take that to more institutions,” said Huawei SA CEO Spawn Fan.
“We are now partnering with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies to deliver a 5G and 4IR online training platform with an accredited certification for 5,000 ICT students and professionals in South Africa.”
“We aim to train a further 1,000 students in our on-site programme,” Fan said.