Tender was tailor-made for Jeeva

THE controversial multimillion-rand municipal automatic meter-reading deal was tailor-made so that only the winning bidder, Unique Mbane, could qualify, according to a secret report contained in the Kabuso annexures.

In August 2007, then municipal manager Graham Richards wrote a report for then mayor Nondumiso Maphazi which listed a string of concerns regarding the implementation of the costly AMR project, spearheaded by Maphazi’s predecessor, Nceba Faku.

The company which landed the pilot project for the installation of 300 meters was Unique Mbane, headed by Faku’s friend, Yusuf Jeeva.

Richards explained in his report that specifications listed in the tender, which Unique Mbane won, were based on the 300-meter pilot project which the company had been chosen to undertake.

“The experience gained during the pilot project formed the basis of the technical requirements for the specification. Certain of these features … were features of the pilot system developed in conjunction with Unique Mbane.

“It is accordingly not surprising that Unique Mbane’s offer was found to be the only compliant one,” Richards wrote.

“In retrospect, it may very well be contended that this process did not comply adequately with the constitutional principles applicable to procurement.”

Just days before Unique Mbane’s contract to supply AMRs to the municipality was about to expire in March this year, then acting municipal manager Elias Ntoba announced that the city would be purchasing a further 2000 AMRs from Unique Mbane in a deal worth almost R4-million, but which has not come to fruition.

Municipal spokesman Ongama Mtimka said yesterday that “the contract to supply the 2000 meters was effective from February 23 to March 31 [the last day of Unique Mbane’s contract] and has therefore lapsed”.

“Any other procuring of further units from any service provider would need to comply with the supply chain management policy [and go out to tender],” Mtimka said.

The extension to the company’s contract came despite an internal letter last year by municipal meter division technical manager Willem van Jaarsveld, which highlighted the high failure rate of the meters.

The 12% failure rate over 1.2 years was far above the 0.05% failure rate over 15 years experienced with other electronic meters, he said.

Richards’s report to Maphazi quoted a 2005 mayoral resolution that “any extension to [the 300 meters] be subjected to 100% technical compliance and 100% reliability with the relevant [municipal] system”. – Brian Hayward  haywardb@avusa.co.za

4 thoughts on “Tender was tailor-made for Jeeva

  • November 20, 2014 at 10:21 am
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    I think its really sad when honest business men are dragged into the mud for no reason, it seems there is no comment from Unique Mbane and there are comments from municipality in the article. I would have been nice to get their side of the story as well. I also have gone through the SIU reports and apparently there has never been a report where Unique Mbane have been mentioned, so I really wonder why they are being subjected to this criticism?

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  • November 20, 2014 at 8:55 am
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    I think you are unjustly painting a wrong picture of Unique Mbane, this company does a lot of work in the community, every week feeding a lot of people, repairing people’s homes and generally giving back to the community. They even took out some old people from the old people’s home near my house just so they could have a day out. They would not be capable of doing something like what you are saying in this article.

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  • November 20, 2014 at 8:33 am
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    I read about the SIU having investigated this deal, apparently they were not able to find any evidence supporting that the deal was not above board. Also the Kabuso report was not conducted by an independent audit firm so I would not really trust the contents of that report.

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  • November 19, 2014 at 11:24 am
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    I am greatly surprised at the fialure rate of the meters stated there, but I would like to refer to the NRS049 standard which is what I believe was used as a standard for choosing the metering system to use. Eskom tests these metering solutions to make sure they are complient and I believe that the failure rate could be attributed to other things that have affected the devices and not the quality of manufacture. Can Eskom verify the results that the technical manager Willem van Jaarsveld has stated?

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