A R4.3 billion rand deal for the provision and delivery of five million set-top-boxes
has come under scrutiny by the DA, who claim that South African Government may
have side-stepped the correct procedures and assessments in a rush to meet the
country’s digital migration deadline set for 17 June 2015, making the tender process
The Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), a government
entity established through the Electronic Communications Act, has responded to
these allegations saying that all relevant tender processes were performed lawfully.
According to TechCentral, USAASA spokesman Khulekani Ntshangase commented,
“Our position will prevail in court. We haven’t done anything wrong. People can say
whatever they want. We will continue to do our work.’
In a statement issued by the DA on www.polity.org.za, the following reasons are
given as to why the party is questioning the validity of the tender:
“The Broadcast Digital Migration policy has not yet been approved by Cabinet.
The Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) STB tender document calls for two prices –
for boxes with “set-top box control’ and for those without. This indicates that at the
time the tenders invitation was printed there was still no certainty about whether
the subsidised STBs would have controlled access.
The Direct-to-Home (DTH) standards have not been approved – the draft of these
was first sent for public comment on 12 December 2014.
The low-key manner in which the tender process was conducted, which side-lined
many companies that would have submitted bids, casts doubt over whether the
process will be fairly adjudicated. Most of the 145 companies that attended the
bidders’ briefing meeting on 2 December 2014 were invited.’
In addition, the DA has pointed out that only R2.39 billion of the R4.3 billion has
been approved by National Treasury for payment through the Universal Service
Access Fund (USAF).