Gauteng Health welcomes high court ruling on validity of waste tender contracts

Gauteng Health welcomes high court ruling on validity of waste tender contracts

Gauteng Health welcomes high court ruling on validity of waste tender contracts

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has welcomed the ruling of the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, on the waste tender matter between itself and Buhle Medical Waste, a losing contractor which had accused the department of awarding a R525-million tender to two companies irregularly.

This comes after Tshenolo Waste secured a R314m contract to service Tshwane and Johannesburg, while Phuting Medical Waste recorded a R211m contract for the West Rand, Sedibeng and Ekurhuleni, in the R525m tender bid.

Last year, the department found itself before the courts after it was accused of awarding a multimillion-rand medical waste tender that was believed to be irregular and unlawful to their preferred candidate during the procurement process.

The case before the court involved an application for an interdict on an urgent basis, with Buhle Medical Waste presenting their case in two parts: Part A and Part B. Part A was argued in court on an urgent basis on November 21, 2023, while Part B was argued at a later stage with the department appealing the initial ruling.

The department said it was of the view that the court made an error by ordering a review and setting aside of the tender, as the issue of reviewing and setting aside the tender was not within the scope of the court proceedings at that time.

Buhle Medical Waste had applied for an urgent interdict at the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, to stop the awarding of more than R500m to Tshenolo Waste and Phuting Medical Waste meant to collect and dispose of waste.

However, following a court ruling on Friday, in a statement, Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said she was pleased with the ruling which cleared her department of any wrongdoing in the matter.

This comes after the court dismissed Buhle Medical Waste’s application after the waste company accused the provincial department of having awarded this contract irregularly.

Buhle Medical Waste had sought the enforcement of the initial court order while awaiting the outcome of the appeal, pending its approval.

Nkomo-Ralehoko said she felt vindicated by the favourable ruling for the GDoH, which followed after the department filed an appeal in December 2023, subsequent to the court’s order issued on November 30.

“From the outset, the department contested the court’s directive for a review and cancellation of the recently awarded medical waste tender. The recent pronouncement by the High Court reaffirms the principles of justice and strengthens the smooth delivery of essential medical waste removal services within the Gauteng Department of Health,” she said.

Last year, Independent Media reported that chief among Buhle Medical Waste’s arguments to the court was that the department had not conveyed to all the bidders that it was willing to extend its validity date from September 28 to October 27 for the three-year tender contract to provide waste services.

Another argument by Buhle Medical Waste, which was contracted in 2015, was that the department has always failed to meet its financial obligations towards their current contract, compelling them to halt its services to hospitals across the province in February last year.

In 2022, Independent Media also reported that the waste company withheld its services after the department failed to pay over R27m for more than two years, which plunged services into disarray as garbage piled up at the province’s hospitals.