The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, says a new tender for the supply and delivery of laptops will be submitted to the Government Printing Works on Friday for publication on 4 September 2020.
NSFAS was informed on 4 June 2020 by Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Blade Nzimande, that the scheme would manage the procurement process of laptops for NSFAS funded students, currently registered at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges for the 2020 academic year.
"NSFAS then prepared the tender document and advertised a tender on 26 June 2020 for the supply and delivery of the laptops for NSFAS funded students. The tender (SCM 004-2020) closed on 13 July 2020, where a total of 150 bid proposals were received.
"The 150 bid proposals were evaluated and adjudicated against the pre-qualification criteria and mandatory requirements, as outlined in the advertised tender document, in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), National Treasury Instruction notes, and the NSFAS Supply Chain Management (SCM) policy," Carolissen said.
Subsequent to the evaluation and adjudication process, it was established that no acceptable bid was received. All 150 bid proposals failed to achieve all mandatory requirements, as per the tender bid description.
Accordingly, Carolissen approved the cancellation of the tender, in accordance with Regulation 13 (1) (c) of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) 2017 regulations.
"The notice for a formal cancellation will be submitted to the Government Printing Works by 28 August 2020, for publication on 4 September 2020. The cancellation notice will be published in the Government Tender Bulletin, the National Treasury E-tender portal and the NSFAS website on 4 September 2020.
"A notice to advertise the new tender will be submitted to the Government Printing Works on 28 August 2020, for publication on 4 September 2020. The new tender will be published in the Government Tender Bulletin, the National Treasury E-tender portal and the NSFAS website on 4 September 2020, with updated requirements," Carolissen said on Wednesday.
He encouraged service providers to bid and to ensure that the bid responses are accompanied by explicit, sufficient and appropriate evidence.
He said while the previous tender process was underway, NSFAS did some groundwork to ensure there were no further delays on this project.
"NSFAS issued guidelines to universities and TVET colleges, which outlined the process to be followed by institutions to enable the speedy processing and delivery of laptops to students. NSFAS has also hosted consultation sessions with the relevant stakeholders for alignment and concurrence," Carolissen said.
Once service providers have been appointed, the laptops will be delivered, as per new tender bidding specifications.
He emphasised that the sole purpose of this project is to provide access to digital remote learning for NSFAS funded students to ensure that no student is left behind.
"The successful implementation and completion of this project is of paramount importance and priority to NSFAS. NSFAS takes firmly the issue of compliance, thorough and fair processes. We would like to convey an earnest apology caused by the delay resulting from no acceptable bids being received," Carolissen said.