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By Ilse de Lange


Antarctica helicopter tender again up for grabs

The four-year tender awarded to Ultimate Heli was set aside after the court found that a rival bidder was unfairly excluded from the process.

The High Court in Pretoria has set aside the tender awarded to a Midrand-based company for the provision of helicopter support to the environmental affairs department’s annual research and resupply voyages to Antarctica.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius set aside the four-year tender awarded to Ultimate Heli in 2016 after finding a rival bidder, Georgebased Indwe Aviation, was unfairly excluded from the bidding process, even though it fully qualified for the tender and Ultimate’s bid exceeded Indwe’s.

Pretorius suspended her ruling of invalidity for 11 months to allow the environmental affairs minister to award a new tender. The minister was given 15 days to initiate a new tender process.

The judge ordered that Ultimate, which has provided the service for two years and spent R10 million on two helicopters and a permanent crew of 12, must continue to provide the services until the new tender was awarded.

She also ruled the request for proposals for a new tender may not interrupt the services presently provided by Ultimate.

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