SOUTH AFRICA. Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has put 78 retail tender bids on hold following a court ruling that the airports operator had been “inconsistent with the constitution” in a request for bids (RFB) in September 2017. The RFB was for ten-year car rental concessions at nine airports.

On 3 July, the high court in Johannesburg ruled in a case brought by car hire company Imperial against ACSA. In documents seen by The Moodie Davitt Report*, the presiding judge said that the latter’s decision to publish the RFB was “unlawful and invalid” because it failed to apply aspects of the constitution (s217) and “particularly the framework legislation envisaged in that section”.

As a result, yesterday the South African business media reported widely that ACSA was suspending current retail tenders. ACSA made the decision so that it could review the effect of the ruling on those tenders. It made its announcement on Tuesday.

The airport operator said it would “ensure continuity of its airports’ retail value proposition for its passengers” while it decided what to do next. In May the bidding for a series of retail tenders was closed.

New RFI just issued

Despite the Tuesday announcement, yesterday a new retail technology request for information (RFI) was announced with a closing date of 8 August. It is for the supply, installation and commissioning of a retail transactions management system, point-of-sale system, payment services, loyalty programme and mobile application and their maintenance for a period of five years.

According to Business Live*, a national news website in South Africa, ACSA’s suspension affects 26 F&B retailers, 21 fashion apparel stores, 27 speciality stores, two curio units and two foreign exchange outlets.

The news site stated that the tenders were for 31 retail spaces at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, 23 at Cape Town International Airport, 15 at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, plus nine in other locations.

ACSA has been under a lot of pressure in recent times. Last year, the Democratic Alliance (DA), the official opposition and the second largest political party in South Africa, called for the suspension of the airport authority’s CEO, Bongani Maseko for alleged tender irregularities. The DA cited leaked ACSA documents to support their case.  Maseko, so far, remains in office but several ACSA board members have resigned in the past three years.

*The Moodie Davitt Report operates a comprehensive attribution policy. When we report on outside agencies’ stories, we both attribute them and make every effort to verify the information.