Outrage over 2-hour Gauteng IT tender for R30 million

The Gauteng government has been accused of rushing through a large IT tender without following the proper process, according to a report by the City Press.

R30 million was allocated by the provincial government for a tender for e-government services, which was concluded in 24 hours. In2IT Technologies won the contract.

Ahead of the tender process, the Gauteng MEC for finance and e-government requested permission from Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for a change from the normal tender process.

South African technology companies have reportedly lodged complaints with the Communications Minister regarding the tender’s bidding window, voicing their outrage over the accelerated process.

Two hours to respond

According to the report, service providers were only effectively given two business hours to respond to the invitation to tender.

At 17:17 on 25 March, a request for quotation was sent for a 12-month contract to provide services.

The email with this request reportedly stated the closing date and time for submission of the quotation was 10:00 on 26 March 2020.

In2IT Technologies responded within the period of two business hours with a quotation of more than 100 pages for the amount of R22,482,500, and was awarded the contract.

In a letter to Ndabeni-Abrahams, GSOC Security Services director Halga Ninow-Cohen said this was an impossible time frame.

Ninow-Cohen added that her company was “either deliberately or mistakenly excluded” from the request, despite being the current service provider.

“Ask any tender office in the country, and they will tell you that it is virtually impossible to respond to a complex tender overnight; and if they somehow managed to piece it together, they would likely have made a critical mistake that would result in the submission being disqualified,” an anonymous service provider told the City Press.

In2IT Technologies said the documentation for the tender submission had been ready since government’s previous attempt to issue the tender in May 2019.

“The wording in the request was to ‘please quote us urgently’. However, there was nothing to indicate that the correct process was not followed,” it said.

Gauteng e-toll contract

This news comes after an e-toll management contract was recently extended, despite declining compliance rates in Gauteng and growing unhappiness with the system.

Gauteng roads and transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo said that the provincial government has made a strong case regarding the withdrawal of e-tolls.

Mamabolo added that he is waiting for a ground-breaking announcement to be made regarding the toll system.

The latest news on the possible scrapping of e-tolls follows Sanral’s integrated report for the year ended 31 March 2019 showing it had disregarded over R1.84 billion in outstanding e-toll fees.

The company’s revenue from e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project declined by 63% to R687.7 million in the period, compared to R1.87 billion the year before.

In2IT Technologies statement

In2IT Technologies has provided a statement on the tender process, stating that it was able to respond promptly due to its response already being prepared.

“On the 25th of March 2020, In2IT Technologies in addition to numerous other companies, received an urgent email Request For Quotation (RFQ) from the Gauteng Department of e-Government,” the company said.

“The RFQ called for the same IT security services that were previously issued by the Gauteng e-Government in July 2018 (Request For Proposal (RFP) No. GT/GDeG/095/2018) and then again by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) in May 2019 (RFP – No. RFB 1926/2019).”

In2IT Technologies said it participated in both these RFPs, however, both requests were later recalled.

“While it is reported that In2IT responded to an RFQ comprehensively within 17 hours of it being issued, it must be noted that this is the third iteration of this RFP and the company’s response is close to identical to its previous response that was prepared,” the company said.

“When the RFP was issued for the third time, In2IT did engage with the relevant stakeholders to request an extension, however, this was declined on the basis that the customer will be without service in a critical area.”

In2IT Technologies said it has a strict governance structure and processes to ensure compliance with the Public Finance Management Act and Municipal Finance Management Act of South Africa, as well as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance in addition to being fully compliant with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

“In2IT remains committed to providing high quality of service to our customers while maintaining and confirming to a governance standard that is globally recognised and equally in compliance to local laws as we have done for nearly a decade.”

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Outrage over 2-hour Gauteng IT tender for R30 million