THE Eastern Cape Education Department has been ordered to pay Freedom Stationery up to R3.78-million in damages for illegally excluding the company from a tender to supply books for pupils in 2011.
The Bhisho High Court found that the department acted in bad faith by excluding Freedom from the process for allegedly breaching supply chain management processes.
The amount of damages due to Freedom Stationery must still be determined, but the company originally sued the department for R3.78-million.
Freedom was the top bidder and among a group of six bidders who were recommended on December 17 2010 to share a tender worth up to R42-million. However, on April 13 2011 the department's then superintendent-general, Modidima Mannya, rejected Freedom's tender bid.
Mannya alleged that Freedom flouted the tender processes after it admitted to having a copy of the December 17 letter advising the SG of the recommended bidders. Freedom informed Mannya that it had received an unsolicited copy of the letter from a competitor in the bidding process, Power Stationery. It denied doing anything improper.
Freedom argued that its exclusion from the process was unreasonable, irrational and in bad faith.