Tender Form to declare interest still a challenge for most bidders

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Tendering for government tenders are seen as highly technical in nature, and is also known for its use of legalese, especially so with the confusing language found in the Declaration of Interest tender form, which is either known as MBD4 or SBD4, respectively.

We also get to hear of many bidders having been disqualified for not correctly answering the questionnaire or completing the tender form, the way it should be done. At least, according to officials, scrutinizing these tender forms.

Firstly, the government has seen the need to include the form as one of the compulsory returnable parts of tenders and bidders will be disqualified outright, if they do not complete and sign the form as well as not correctly answering the relevant questions.

The contradictions and confusion already start with the opening statement on the form, where the incorrect impression is created that people in the employ of the state, who either own a business or have a shareholding in a company bidding for government tenders, by inference, may submit tenders, as long as they have declared it such.

The form in itself was created many decades ago and it creates conflict with the recent law, signed by the President, prohibiting Councillors from doing business with the state, which is aligned with other earlier legislation, that also bans officials from bidding for government tenders.

In essence, a big part of the tender form has now become irrelevant since bidding by those elected or employed by the state, are no longer allowed to be part of a tender.

Bidders are now challenged to ensure that their shareholders and directors are also not employed by the state.

The next section causing great confusion with many bidders, is where it asks whether the bidder, “Their spouse or any of the company’s directors / trustees / shareholders / members, have conducted business with the state in the previous twelve months.”

Bidders must be cautious as to how they answer this section since almost every organ of state, have a different interpretation of this question, hence they apply it in a way they believe it to be the correct approach, thus creating further confusion for bidders in terms of providing the correct answers.

The next confusing section of the form is the query, as to whether the bidder, “Or any of the directors / trustees / shareholders / members of the company have any interest in any other related companies, whether or not they are bidding for this contract?

Actually, many bidders have been disqualified for applying a correct interpretation of the contextual understanding of the language used in this question and yet, they were still disqualified, for doing so.

In most cases it boils down to the incorrect interpretation by the organ of state and disqualifying a bidder for having correctly answered this section.

According to Gerrit Davids, Lead Advisor at TaranisCo Advisory, tendering agency, “Government should make an effort to redesign this confusing tender form and make it easier for bidders to understand the instructions therein.”

“Some organs of state have recently started to change the wording to a more understandable presentation, to allow bidders to correctly answer the relevant questions in the tender form”, says Davids.

For more information on how to correctly compile the respective tender forms as well as the overall tendering process, visit our website: www.taranis.co.za 

Gerrit Davids | Lead Advisor | TaranisCo Advisory CC | Cell. 082 496 1657 | E-mail:  gerrit@taranisco.co.za

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