Tender validity period

In Joubert Galpin Searle and Others v Road Accident Fund and Others [2014] 2 All SA 604 (ECP), the High Court considered, amongst other things, the legal effect of the expiry of the tender validity period.

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) advertised a tender for the appointment of attorneys to a panel for the provision of litigation services. The tender validity period was 90 days, calculated from the closing date for the submission of bids. By the time that the tender validity period expired, the RAF had not yet completed the evaluation and adjudication of some 152 bids that were received.

Consequently, the RAF wrote to each bidder and requested the amendment and renewal of its bid to reflect a validity period of one year, failing which the bidder would be excluded from further consideration. This led to a legal challenge, brought by a firm of attorneys pursuant to its exclusion.

The High Court held that once the tender validity period had expired, there was nothing to extend. The tender had been concluded, albeit unsuccessfully. Accordingly, the RAF had no power to award the tender after the expiry date and it had no power to extend the tender validity period, as it had purported to do.

The award of the tender was declared invalid and was set aside with costs.

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