I have been involved in 2 very large appeals against tender awards in KZN over the las 12 months. Have also been involved in a number of tender bids over the past 2 years and learned a fair bit about what is required, the various regulations etc.
However the 1 thing that has stood out is that all is not well in tender circles in KZN (I guess other provinces are the same) and there simply are just too many irregular awards taking place. The alarming thing is that although the Appeals Tibunal is theoretically and by definition an independent one made up of non-government officials who should be applying their unbiased independent minds, there is a lot of reason to believe that this is not happening.
These are the concerns I have:
1. Appeals generally are rushed and Apellants are not afforded sufficient time to present their case because the Tribunal has so many matters to hear on any
given day (a signal that all is not well with award compliance or that the Tribunal simply just doesnt meet often enough and crams hearings into 1 day).
2. The Tribunal, by my observations, tends to "bully" the Appellants, particularly those not represented by an Attorney, by throwing random questions at
them, often immaterial to the grounds of appeal being brought, and seem to fish for technical reasons to dismiss the appeal rather than paying
attention to the grounds it is being asked to consider.
3. Once they have made a ruling, often based on technical immaterialities of the Appellant, there is no process for dissatisfied appellants to take the matter
further other than through the courts. What 1 needs to consider is that going to court is more often than not, unaffordable for most folk who simply
therefore dont take it further. My suspicion is that the authorities know this and are not concerned about the correctness of their decisions/rulings.
There is no Public Watchdog or Monitor tracking Appeal proceedings - no information available from which to assess which departments are having their
awards contested, how many appeals have taken place, how many Tribunals are being held, when they are being held, monitoring that their turnaround
times conform with the prescripts of regulation and policy, how many are being dismissed, how many are being upheld, what the rulings were, which departments are being appealed etc etc
In my humble opinion the Appeals Tribunal system is failing the public dismally and favouring the state alarmingly, which is not why it was set-up. In the process the constitution is being made a mockery of on a number of grounds.
Hundresd of millions of rands are being awarded improperly, irrregularly and unconstitutionally on a monthly basis across the country and I am tired of merely complaining about it. Enough is enough and I would like to be part of the solution and try to do something about it.
Does anybody know whether there is a mechanism that monitors Appeals and where one can access it?. If its a state compiled one I'm not interested.
More importantly, can anyone offer advice on specifically how a Monitoring System could be set up, or which organisations I could approach to consider doing so or is anyone able to offer assistnce in setting a "Watchdog" up?
One final word with due respect to all who may wish to reply - please, please, please lets not make this a "bitching dumping thread" to offload our personal views about what is wrong or what we are feeling. I truly believe the majority of people share my concerns or would share my concerns if they were better informed and therefore it would be very much appreciated if replies could focus specifically on my call for help in the preceeding 2 paragraphs.
Sincere thanks in advance.