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More delay for NSFAS students waiting on free laptops

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The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, says that a new tender for the supply and delivery of laptops will be submitted to the Government Printing Works on Friday for publication.

NSFAS was informed on the 4th of 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 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.

After the evaluation process, it was established that none of the tenders that have been received was acceptable meaning that all 150 bid proposals failed to achieve all mandatory requirements.

Carolissen then granted the cancellation of the tender, per 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 also urged service providers to apply for and ensure that the bid responses contain explicit, sufficient and appropriate evidence.

During the previous tender process, Carolissen said, NSFAS did some groundwork to prevent further delays on the 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.

Carolissen also emphasised that the main goal of this project is to give NSFAS funded students access to digital remote learning to ensure that no student is left behind.

Read also: Delay in sourcing NSFAS student laptops

“The successful implementation and completion of this project are 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”

 The laptops will be delivered as soon as the suitable service providers have been appointed.

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