/ 5 February 2012

DA and Didata in irregular tender deal

The Democratic Alliance in Plettenberg Bay has allegedly given a company run by a resident in the area a R4.3-million short-term IT contract without a tender, the Sunday Times reported.

The contract was given to Dimension Data (Didata), a global IT company bought by Japan’s NTT for R22-billion last year. The company’s chairperson was Jeremy Ord, a Plettenberg Bay resident.

The DA took control of the Bitou municipality in May last year. After doing so, it fired IT supplier Lefatshe Technologies because its R10-million system did not work.

The DA’s new mayor, Memory Booysen, said Ord then “offered to send a team down to Plett, at no cost, to evaluate our technology systems”, reported the Sunday Times.

On December 11, the DA-led council requested a “deviation from the tender process” so it could award Didata the contract “to stabilise the IT environment at Bitou”.

According to the newspaper, Bitou manager Terry Giliomee, in a letter to Booysen dated December 12, didn’t receive other quotations because “there was not enough time”.

In a letter dated August 30 Bitou officials gave Lefatshe 90 days notice and said their contract would come to an end on December 31.

Emails from DA councillor Johann Brummer to Bitou officials in December urged action to be taken to prevent problems at Plettenberg Bay’s Lookout restaurant.

“Remember that Lookout is a Plett icon and hang-out of preference for some very powerful people, like Jeremy Ord and others who have supported us generously,” Brummer wrote.

DA spokesperson Jordan Hill-Lewis refused to confirm or deny if Ord had financially supported the party in the past. He said the DA would not engage in quid pro quo relationships with donors.

Booysen said before Didata were hired, no mention was made of Ord being a “supporter” of the DA.

ANC chief whip in Bitou, Phakie Mbali, said a supplier having to be appointed quickly was not a sufficient excuse for not putting the contract out to tender.

He said that while Didata’s assessment was for free, the municipality had found a way to pay the company R4.3-million anyway.

Ord’s spokesperson Hilary King said Ord would not comment on the matter. — Sapa