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The dysfunctional procurement system used in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was among the HDA’s areas of concern when appointed to support the metro’s human settlements delivery programme in 2015. This problem led to robust protests in the area and, in some instances contracts were stopped, tyres were burnt and Metro offices were closed by angry contractors protesting and demanding transparency in the allocation of work.

The HDA was tasked to implement an efficient and transparent system of work allocation which would support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) development. A tender was advertised in October 2015 calling for contractors to register on a database for pre-approval, and from which they would be chosen for work allocation. This effort proved to be easier said than done.

On closure of the tender, 1 515 bids had been submitted (four times more than anticipated – up from the 309 contractors previously registered on the Metro roster system). These bids had to be accurately registered, evaluated and adjudicated, in as short a time as possible to facilitate new work allocation, which had been on hold for six months.

The evaluation team commenced work on 23 November and completed their task on 10 December 2015, having worked every day from 9am to 9pm, including weekends. Thereafter, information had to be collated and transferred to a database system. This procedure identified 1 170 responsive bids, 345 non-responsive bids and 66 late submissions. The database was then approved by the HDA’s bid adjudication committee and the steering committee of the support programme and then presented to the contractors on 12 February 2016.

On work allocation many contractors who had been non-responsive or had not achieve the required threshold scores (or who had submitted late bids) queried the process. This resulted in the HDA offices being closed on 3 and 4 March due to objections.

These queries have now been assessed and a revised list of contractors has been published and work has been allocated to 66 contractors thus far. Contractors have been introduced to the ward councillors and community members and work has commenced and is progressing. Another mammoth task has been well achieved by the HDA.