- During August 2011 a group of civil society organisations in the Western Cape wrote to the Office of the Premier Western Cape asking for the reports given to media regarding the TBWA Hunt Lascaris Tender and also for certain explanations relating to two aspects of the tender (a political advisors role in Supply Chain Management /SCM processes and the transversal nature of tender).
- On 6 September 2011 we were given the reports that we requested (now available on www.nu.org.za).
- On 9 September 2011 we met with Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to discuss the appointment of TBWA Hunt Lascaris to provide communication services to departments in the province.
- The Premier denied any corruption or wrongdoing on her part, her office, her staff or her political advisor.
- The Premier has conceded that the potential risk of her (or any) political advisor participating in SCM processes was significant enough to warrant her taking a decision not to allow him to participate in future SCM processes.
- Further, she agreed that the concern by civil society that such participation might set a dangerous precedent whereby all other Premiers, and Ministers and the President could conceivably argue for the participation of their respective advisors -who are political appointments- in future tender/bid evaluation or adjudication processes, was warranted.
- We are pleased to note that based on this that the Premiers advisor will not participate in tenders from here on– as the potential for a serious conflict of interest exists. In particular the Premier stated, that while she regarded the appointment of her special advisor as “not irregular”, the appointment of special advisors to bid evaluation committee does set a “dangerous precedent”.
- On the transversal nature of the tender the Premier acknowledged that mistakes had been made in terms of procedures followed in the awarding of the bid with relation to its transversal nature and set out the steps that various departments are now taking. The Premier’s office indicated to us that so far 4 departments have indicated their preference regarding who should be contracted to provide communications services, while decisions from other departments are still pending.
- We will request that the Auditor General and National Treasury keep a watching brief on this process as it unfolds -to ensure that all Treasury / other regulations are complied with.
- We will also be writing to the Office of the Public Protector to ask her to include in her on-going investigation of this matter an examination of the role that the Premiers political adviser has played in this tender award through his participation on the bid evaluation committee (and any past tender awards). We will also ask the Office of the Public Protector for a finding on the role that any adviser can and should or should not play in SCM processes with due consideration of the existing legal and regulatory frameworks.
- IDASA, Judith February, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ndifuna Ukwazi, Fatima Hassan email@example.com
- ODAC, Alison Tilley, alisont@opendemocracy.
- Right 2 Know Campaign WC, Nkwame Cedile, nkwame.cedile@gmail.
- Social Justice Coalition, Gavin Silber, firstname.lastname@example.org