The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has noted with concern that the call for proposals for the Foreshore freeway development plan has been cancelled for legal reasons. What this means is that the way the City went about the proposal call and its evaluation of the bids fell short of legal requirements.
Preparing a bid of this nature is an extremely expensive undertaking. The six bidders employed dozens of planners, architects and other top professionals to prepare their submissions and it has all come to nothing.
When developers take part in projects like this they understand that there will be no compensation for the losers but it is a chance they are prepared to take. When the final decision is made they congratulate the winner and move on. What they do not expect is that all their proposals will be thrown out because the City got it wrong and the whole process was in some way illegal.
This raises two questions. The first is whether there will be some form of compensation for all the bidders and the second is who made the mistakes and will there be consequences? Senior City officials earn massive salaries (more than R3m a year for the Executive Directors) and business and the ratepayers have every right to expect solid professional work from them.
The mistakes, whatever they were, have also cost the local economy an investment of a billion rands or more and how many thousands of direct and indirect jobs?
We must also ask what the long-term consequences of this expensive disaster will be? Will good developers and professional firms become reluctant to tender for future City projects? And what of the reputational damage to the City?
President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry