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Open source tender wait continues

By   |  February 17, 2006

South Africa’s State Information Technology Agency (Sita) has taken a decision on the winners of South Africa’s biggest open source tender, but it may take weeks before the award, and its conditions, is officially announced.

On Tuesday, Sita’s Supplier Selection Authority (SSA) — the highest decision-making body in the tender process — met to scrutinise recommendations made by the agency’s selection board on who should be placed on the government’s preferred list of suppliers of open source technology.

At the meeting, a decision was taken on the tender. Information officer at the Tender Board, Tinus Lourens, described the tender as being “approved”. However, Lourens was unable to provide information on the nature of the decision or the conditions attached to it.

John Mashaba, a Sita sourcing specialist who is handling the open source tender, said although he had heard “everything went well”, he hadn’t received the resolution from the committee yet in writing and thus could not confirm whether the tender had been awarded.

Before the award results can be published, letters of award and regret have to be sent to the tenderers.

“Legally, you aren’t allowed to publish the award if the suppliers have not been notified,” said Lourens. “It’s not just about informing. The vendor must accept the conditions that were set out by the SSA or by the committee.”

“It can take any time between three days and two weeks,” says Lourens.

The government called for bids in October last year for the procurement of an open source distribution and related software services over the next three years.

Companies making the grade will be placed on a preferred list of open source suppliers, which will give Sita the option of “deploying OSS solutions where and when required”, according to the tender document.

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