SA Connect tender cancelled due to bidders not qualifying

Johannesburg, 22 Nov 2016
Read time 2min 20sec
SITA cancelled the first SA Connect tender because none of the six bidders qualified.
SITA cancelled the first SA Connect tender because none of the six bidders qualified.

The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) has said it cancelled the SA Connect tender last week because none of the bidders were found to have qualified.

The first tender for SA Connect, government's broadband plan to provide Internet access to all South Africans by 2020, was cancelled on Friday, with no explanation.

Last week, ITWeb reported six companies were in the running for the tender to roll out the country's SA Connect project. These included Broadband Infraco, EOH, MTN, Neotel, Vodacom, and Tradepage & Galela Telecommunications as a joint venture, according to the agency.

Despite being pegged as the lead agency to assist with broadband rollout, the majority state-owned Telkom was missing from the list of bidders for the SA Connect tender.

SITA was approached by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services to commence with the process to appoint a suitable service provider for phase one of the SA Connect tender.

National Treasury has allocated R1.5 billion in the current Medium-Term Economic Framework for this phase, which was to be a pilot to connect 6 235 government facilities in eight district municipalities.

Phase two, for which there is no available funding, was to roll-out broadband connectivity to 35 211 facilities in the remaining 44 district municipalities by 2020 to meet the SA Connect target of 90% population coverage.

The tender was opened on 24 June for bidding and closed on 8 August. It was recorded in front of an independent auditor that the above-mentioned six bidders submitted tender responses. The responses needed to include six mandatory requirements.

A screening process then took place in front of the auditor, to find out if all documentation had been submitted to proceed to the technical evaluation stage.

"At the conclusion of the technical evaluation process, which was also subjected to probity by the independent auditor, none of the six companies that responded to the bid had met all six technical mandatory requirements (bidders were expected to meet ALL six mandatory requirements) to enable them to proceed to the next phase of pricing evaluation. As such, the bid had to be cancelled in terms of clause 32.4.1 (4) of the SITA Supply Chain Management Policy," the agency said in a statement.

However, "realising and acknowledging the importance of SA Connect and its intended impact on the achievement of the NDP milestones, SITA and the client will still meet to discuss and decide on way forward and the public will be kept informed".

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