How unknown firm won R81m bus deal

A lucrative multimillion-rand tender to supply Mayibuye buses was awarded to a firm that did not meet the requirements and was registered months before the contract was awarded.

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Mayibuye Transport Corporation (MTC) is the flagship bus company of the Eastern Cape government.

The Daily Dispatch has seen minutes of MTC’s Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC), where it disqualified Siga Capital Asset Finance and Lease Solutions (Pty) Ltd, which is owned by businessman Patuxolo Nodada.

Despite the decision by the evaluation committee, the board awarded Nodada’s company an R81-million tender to supply 40 buses. The overall contract was for R100-million.

Nodada’s company was competing with Ronnies Motors for the tender.

While the bid committee recommended that Ronnies be given the entire contract to supply all 50 buses, they were instead given a deal to supply 10, for R19-million.

Nodada’s company charged R2039460 per bus while Ronnies was asking for R1906650 per bus.

The award to Siga Capital shocked a number of senior managers and board members, who maintained that Ronnies was always the favoured company.

This is backed up by minutes of the MTC’s evaluation committee – signed on October 8 2015 – which recommended that the tender be given to Ronnies Motors.

In disqualifying Siga – over the failure of the specifications, in their tender documents, to meet the required standard for a bus chassis – the committee said: “This was determined to be a critical specification by the evaluation committee and as such the submission [by Nodada’s company] was dismissed”.

“Ronnies was the only bidder to be considered against functionality.

“They scored 64.5 points therefore qualified for stage 3,” wrote Janice Ewers, who chaired the meeting and wrote the minutes.

Ewers left MTC in November.

Yesterday Ewers confirmed that she no longer worked for MTC. “Unfortunately I can’t comment as I am not with the company anymore,” she said.

The Dispatch can also reveal that Siga Capital has no experience in the leasing business.

According to Cipro’s company registration, the company was registered just a few months before it was awarded the tender.

In April last year, MTC advertised the tender, initially calling for the supply and delivery of 20 buses and three semi-luxury buses.

But it later cancelled the tender.

In August it invited bidders to bid for the outright supply and delivery of 10 commuter buses and the supply, delivery and financing of 40 commuter buses.

“In between this period, Nodada registered a new company, this same company that won the R81-million tender,” said the source within the MTC.

A former board member said Nodada’s tender was turned away a number of times by the board.

“It was finally awarded to him after it was turned away many times … the board was divided over awarding it to Nodada but they couldn’t give credible reasons why it couldn’t be awarded to Ronnies,” said the ex-board member.

The only other known directorship related to buses that Nodada holds is in bus body maker Busmark.

Nodada is also an active director in more than 30 other companies.

Today the Dispatch investigation can also reveal that Siga Capital Asset Finance and Lease Solutions (Pty) Ltd has:

  • No proper offices;
  • No landline office number and Nodada is contacted via his cellphone;
  • The contact numbers provided to MTC in an invoice are invalid/private home lines; and
  • An address registered to the company is that of a house in an affluent Kyalami Estate in Johannesburg.

For the past three weeks the Dispatch has been calling the number Nodada provided in his company documents but with no response.

Yesterday Nodada said he could not share the information with the Dispatch without MTC’s permission.

“I have submitted a request to disclose our deal, including sharing with you detailed information, in which we can be comfortable [that] you have right information.”

Last week he said the Dispatch was “misled and misinformed”.

He was given over a week to respond.

MTC CEO Ntombizine Madyibi was contacted by the Dispatch last week, but said that she was out of town and needed more time to prepare a response to the detailed questions (see sidebar).

The Dispatch recently exposed how Nodada was unable to meet crucial delivery deadlines agreed to with MTC executives.

First, he missed the November 2015 deadline to deliver the first batch of 20 buses.

Then, one day before the launch in December, which was attended by premier Phumulo Masualle and transport MEC Weziwe Tikana, Siga Capital delivered only one bus.

A further 20 were eventually delivered by December 24, but half were not branded and others had the wrong gearboxes. The outstanding 19 buses are yet to be delivered, meaning Nodada missed a December 31 deadline to deliver the entire fleet.

Ronnies Motors’ principal dealer Russell Grigg could not be reached for comment. — bonganif@dispatch.co.za

7 COMMENTS

  1. Are these the same buses that didn’t meet the size specs and are now too big to fit into the lanes… So are standing unused…

    • No, these ones are from East London, they were meant for rural communities, they have nothing to do with the IPTS in PE.

  2. Apple, Google, Microsoft, were started in a garage. Can the journos report on a meaningful story. Having offices or not a business requirement. Please report meaningful facts, what is it about this tender award that makes it wrong, price is not the only factor please bring more facts.

    Everyone is steered towards Entrepreneurship. a business might not have experience but the people in it might have loads of experience, every business has a start date.

    • They did not meet the tender specifications as well as the price problem.
      This should have been an automatic disqualification from the tender process.

  3. Shame on these people they are so greedy they can’t even help themselves. The Eastern Cape province is doomed. What have we done to deserve such pathetic useless people who call themselves leaders? I’m so disgusted we are not talking thousands these are millions benefiting a few. Sies!!

  4. This smacks of under hand and shading dealings – I wonder how much of the R81 million actually went towards the buses and how much to the board members. If the EC government has so much money to spend why not give every South African of voting age R1 million (amounts to roughly R55 million), rid the country of poverty and use the change to build a free tram system? Easier and cheaper to maintain, creates more employment opportunities too.

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