Treasury reviews State cellular tender

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National Treasury is calling on the telecommunications industry to supply it with information on the provision of mobile communication services to government.

The request, issued by the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer, invites insight into how the current transversal contract can be improved.

Vodacom has been government's exclusive supplier of mobile communication services since September 2016. The contract was a result of an effort by National Treasury to address what it called an “exorbitant spend category”.

Pursuing a commodity strategy, the tender sought to eradicate duplicate tender processes, leverage the scale of government spend, and utilise cellular services more innovatively to improve service delivery.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, the department announced it anticipated savings of 40%. Although departments could choose not to participate in the offering, the details of their alternate offerings needed to be submitted to National Treasury and approval obtained before contracts concluded.

Government's contract with Vodacom will come to an end on 31 August.

Testing the waters

In its request for information, National Treasury notes its “journey” to modernise the public sector procurement system continues.

“In addition to other continuous interventions, the identification of numerous projects to reduce State spending is also on the rise. It is against this background that National Treasury seeks to understand the progress and level of market maturity since the first transversal contract for mobile communication services was established.”

The documentation asks that “potential suppliers” respond to the 25 questions put forward by the department. Additional information, over and above the stipulations, can also be provided.

The questions cover several themes. The opening queries approach from an overview position inviting suggestions on how the contract can be improved; including: the scope of services; alternative procurement strategies; cost containment; proposed charging schemes; and, in the event that the contract remains as it is, what improvements could the company contribute.

In light of the existing different subscription periods, respondents are asked to outline their proposed transition methodology.

This is followed by a focus on the South African value chain. Establishing existing – or planned – manufacture or assembly of mobile devices and accessories; as well as requesting insight into those goods and services the company can source from the local market and in which provinces.

In terms of the mobile communication offerings, National Treasury's interest lies in an “innovative” alternative to traditional voice; SMS or data; the relationship or agreement the supplier has with the network provider; the kind of coverage agreements in place; and the ability to offer dual SIM card mobile devices.

Attention is also given to black economic empowerment transformation initiatives and proposed job creation contributions. However, National Treasury goes on to ask whether potential suppliers would be willing to bring on a subcontractor to act as a mobile administrator dealing with service and support to government.

Moreover, it asks whether the company is “in a position” to fully sponsor national repair centres, managed by subcontractors and assist them in the running of the centres as part of job creation, skills development and transfer contributions.

The closing date is 21 February and interested parties are cautioned to note that all submissions must be made by e-mail and not in hard copy.

Tender no: RT15- 2020

Information: Nancy Ravhandalala, E-mail:

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