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Koeberg tender case partly withdrawn

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Westinghouse Electric SA has partly withdrawn an urgent application relating to a R4 billion tender to replace steam generators at the Koeberg nuclear power plant, Eskom said on Thursday.

Westinghouse wanted to prevent Eskom from finalising the contract and to see all documents relating to it. The company withdrew its application to prevent the power utility from finalising the contract with French company Areva NP Proprietary.

“I am pleased that Westinghouse has seen the light on this matter,” Eskom’s acting group executive for technology and commercial Matshela Koko said in a statement.

“With this matter behind us, Eskom is proceeding with the implementation of the Koeberg steam generator replacement project as planned.”

The power utility said it received notice of the withdrawal of the application from Westinghouse Electric SA’s attorneys.

Westinghouse confirmed its decision on Thursday and said it would rather focus on the court application to obtain all the documentation relating to Eskom’s decision and the envisaged urgent review proceedings.

“Westinghouse has once again cautioned Eskom and Areva that they should not proceed with the implementation of the agreement, pending the conclusion of the review proceedings, and if they do proceed to implement, they do so at their own risk,” it said in a statement.

“Affidavits filed on behalf of Eskom in related court proceedings only serve to reinforce Westinghouse’s view that the decision not to award the tender to it was fundamentally flawed and should be reversed.”

It said the affidavits showed that Eskom was intending to proceed to conclude or implement an agreement with Areva, “with undue haste” and with no proper regard to the risk that a court may ultimately overturn the decision.

However, Eskom said it was satisfied with the integrity of the process and had ensured that the process remained fair and in adherence to good governance.

“The relief sought to access the documentation leading up to and forming the basis of the Eskom decision in the procurement of the steam generators will be heard tomorrow [Friday],” it said.

“Eskom has been working to provide such documentation in any event on the basis of a formal request via Westinghouse’s attorneys of record.”

Last month, Eskom’s board of directors announced it had awarded the contract to Areva.

In a report on Wednesday, Westinghouse Electric SA managing director Frederik Wolvaardt said his company was the winner of the R4.2bn tender until Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown was told about the tender committee’s decision.

Four different sources told Westinghouse officials the company won the bid before Brown made the announcement on August 16.

“Westinghouse handed in a better tender in all aspects — out of a commercial and technical point, at a lower price as well,” Wolvaardt was quoted as saying in Beeld.

In court papers, he said Brown was misled by acting Eskom CEO Collin Matjila and chairwoman of Eskom’s tender committee Neo Lesela on August 15 when they briefed her on the board’s decision.

The urgent application would be heard in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday.

The new generators were expected to be installed in 2018. SAPA

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