A Competition Commission investigation has found evidence of alleged price fixing and collusive tendering, involving an Eskom tender worth R4.5-billion, on the part of Waco Africa, acting through its division SGB Cape, as well as Tedoc Industries, Mtsweni Corrosion Control and Superfecta Trading.
The commission has now referred these companies to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.
This follows a complaint lodged by State-owned Eskom and a subsequent investigation by the commission into the alleged collusive tendering for the supply, installation and dismantling of scaffolding and thermal insulation for all 15 of Eskom's coal-fired power stations.
The investigation found that SGB Cape concluded bilateral agreements with each of Tedoc Industries, Mtsweni Corrosion Control and Superfecta Trading to form three separate joint ventures (JVs) to be used to allegedly tender collusively.
SGB Cape allegedly submitted bids on its behalf and on behalf of the three JVs and allegedly priced the bids in such a way that it manipulated prices quoted by itself and the respective JVs.
The invitation for the Eskom tender was issued on March 15, 2015.
Thirty-one suppliers responded to the tender.
In March 2016, the commission received Eskom's complaint in which it alleged that SGB Cape and the three JVs could have colluded when bidding for the tender, as the same person signed all four tender submissions and safety, financial, technical and quality documents in all four bids were identical.
On March 13, 2017, Eskom withdrew its complaint. However, the commissioner decided to continue with the investigation.
SGB Cape, as the incumbent, interdicted Eskom from disqualifying it and awarding the tender to a new supplier. As a result, SGB Cape continued to render the services to Eskom.
SGB Cape is a marine and event scaffolding supplier and also specialises in maintenance works such as thermal insulation, corrosion protection, asbestos removal and industrial plastic encapsulation.
Tedoc, Mtsweni and Superfecta are all human resource (HR) companies and offer services which include recruitment, placement, payroll and all HR related administration and management.
Based on the commission's investigation, the three JVs were established for purposes of bidding for this tender.