The Supreme Court of Appeal rules in favour of Altron over telecoms tender

Technology group Altron wins court ruling against Tshwane over multi-billion rand contract.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on October 5 overturned a previous ruling by the Gauteng High Court that had set aside the awarding of a broadband contract to Altron Nexus’ special purpose vehicle, Thobela Telecoms, on the grounds that internal processes were not followed by the City of Tshwane in 2015. Altron Nexus is a subsidiary of JSE-listed Altron Group.

The SCA deemed that the City of Tshwane’s application to have the R1.2 billion contract award set aside had been wrongly granted by the lower court.

Altron Nexus was involved as the primary network designer and architect, supplier of broadband equipment and related services. The project was put on ice after the city alleged that the tender award process was unlawful due to the flouting of its internal procedures.

According to Business Insider, Altron chief executive Mteto Nyati remarked that, “Neither Altron nor its subsidiaries will countenance any corrupt dealings. We are pleased that the court has ruled in our favour. Any possible maladministration or mismanagement of Altron Nexus was quite correctly never an issue. The city and its officials were solely to blame for its predicament.”

Judge Visvanathan Ponnan pointed out the city had sought to review its own decisions because it had not complied with its own rules, “misinterpreted certain statutory prescripts and maladministered its own tender process in respect of the appointment of a service provider for a municipal broadband network project”.