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Milani Furnitures v MEC, Department of Education Eastern Cape and Others (602/14) [2015] ZAECBHC 20

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Milani Furnitures v MEC, Department of Education Eastern Cape and Others (602/14) [2015] ZAECBHC 20

3rd September 2015

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[1] The dispute in this matter falls within a very narrow ambit, and is a sequel to a tender process which was the subject of an advertisement published at the instance of the first respondent in the Daily Dispatch newspaper during November 2013.  The advertisement invited interested bidders to apply for a bid described as SCMV6-13/14-0004 ostensibly for the manufacture and delivery of furniture for Grade R-12 including pre-primary schools (the Tender).  The facts of the application are largely common cause.

[2] The applicant, a manufacturer and supplier of furniture products, was one of thirty entities that responded to the advertisement, whose closing date was 20 November 2013.

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[3] During January 2014 the applicant received a document dropped off at its offices by an anonymous source.  The document purports to be a memorandum from the Independent Bid Adjudication Committee (IBAC) set up under the auspices of the third respondent.  The memorandum embodied recommendations to the first respondent’s Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) and the Bid Adjudication Committee concerning how the award should be allocated.

[4] It came to pass, during October 2014, that the applicant received information concerning the award of the Tender and the placing of orders pursuant to such award.  The applicant, through its attorneys of record, set out to verify the information and, to that end, a letter to the second respondent seeking verification of the information, was penned on 15 October 2014.  That letter attracted no response, and resulted in a follow up letter being written complaining about the lack of response from the respondent’s camp.  The follow up letter was responded to with the applicant being informed, on 23 October 2014, that the applicant’s bid had not been successful.  The applicant did not take kindly to this revelation, holding the view that after the passage of such lengthy period it had been deprived of the opportunity to lodge objections against the award within the time frames stipulated in the applicable regulatory framework.

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