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SITA comments on SA Connect tender cancellation

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The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) has issued the following statement on the cancellation of the first phase of the SA Connect tender:
SITA was approached by Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) to commence with the process to appoint a suitable service provider for the roll out of Phase One of the SA Connect tender.
In response, the SITA worked in close conjunction with the client to develop and approve the specification. The SA Connect RFB 1439/2016 document was then published in the open market on 24 June 2016 to allow any organisation that qualifies to bid for it accordingly.
On the 01July 2016, a compulsory briefing session was held and 110 company representatives attended the briefing session. The initial closing date was scheduled for the 18 July 2016 but was subsequently extended for two weeks to 8 August 2016 following a request by the service providers.
The approved specifications contained six mandatory requirements that needed to be complied with by all bidders.
A public opening was held on the same day that the bid closed on 08 August 2016 in the presence of the Independent Auditor and it was recorded that the following six companies had submitted tender responses
* Broadbrand Infraco
* EOH Mthombo
* MTN
* Neotel
* Tradepage & Galela Telecommunications Holding (Joint Venture)
* Vodacom.
SITA conducted the screening process in the presence of the Independent Auditor to ascertain if all the prospective bidders had submitted compliance documentation 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.
In line with the Supply Chain Management processes, a decision for cancellation was signed off at a meeting of the Board of Directors of SITA on 19 October 2016. Subsequent to the Board approval to cancel, the client was notified of the intention to do so.
In the same manner the six bidders were duly notified of the unsuccessful status of their bids and individual reasons were furnished to each in the week of 14 – 18 November 2016. The notification for cancellation was also communicated through the Government Gazette which was published on Friday 18 November 2016.
Realising and acknowledging the importance of the 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.