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NSFAS laptops tender cancelled after corruption allegations

Read time 2min 40sec

The tender to supply National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students with laptops has been cancelled and a new one will be published next week after corruption allegations had shrouded the procurement process.

NSFAS administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, says a new tender for the supply and delivery of laptops will be submitted to the Government Printing Works on Friday for publication on 4 September.

The NSFAS administrator approved the cancellation of the tender in accordance with Regulation 13 (1) (c) of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) 2017 regulations.

Carolissen says subsequent to the evaluation and adjudication process, it was established that no acceptable bid was received.

All 150 bid proposals failed to achieve all mandatory requirements, as per the tender bid description.

“The 150 bid proposals were evaluated and adjudicated against the pre-qualification criteria and mandatory requirements, as outlined in the advertised tender document, in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act, National Treasury instruction notes, and the NSFAS supply chain management policy.”

Yesterday, ITWeb reported that graft allegations were the reason for the prolonged delay in the procurement of laptops for deserving NSFAS students.

Portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology chairperson, Philly Mapulane, bemoaned the hold-up, saying parliamentarians have been alerted to attempts to influence the supply chain process.

Following the outcry, Carolissen today announced the procurement process will be started afresh.

“The notice for a formal cancellation will be submitted to the Government Printing Works by 28 August 2020, for publication on 4 September 2020. The cancellation notice will be published in the Government Tender Bulletin, the National Treasury E-tender portal and the NSFAS Web site on 4 September 2020,” he says.

Carolissen adds: “A notice to advertise the new tender will be submitted to the Government Printing Works on 28 August 2020, for publication on 4 September 2020. The new tender will be published in the Government Tender Bulletin, the National Treasury E-tender portal and the NSFAS Web site on 4 September 2020, with updated requirements.”

The laptops tender is part of COVID-19 relief efforts by the government to assist students during the lockdown period.

It’s now three months since higher education, science and innovation minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, announced that government will procure the laptops for all NSFAS qualifying students in universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges.

The procurement of the laptops was then put on tender due to the substantial amount involved.

However, months after the announcement, students are yet to receive the laptops and yesterday attempts to “manipulate the procurement process” were cited as the reason for the hold-up.

In a statement, Mapulane said: “Of great concern are the allegations brought to the committee, that there is interference with the procurement processes. Attempts are being made to manipulate the procurement process, and to finally get it aborted because certain service providers are not recommended, following supply chain management processes of NSFAS.” 

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