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Bid process raises spectre of Travelgate

07 October 2012 - 02:06 By BUYEKEZWA MAKWABE

Parliament is hiring new travel agents to handle thousands of bookings for flights, hired cars and accommodation, worth at least R80-million a year.

A tender advertising the lucrative three-year contract says the winning bidder will process travel bookings for about 6100 domestic flights, 1900 international flights and an estimated 22900 car hires every year.

Parliament spokesman Letebele Masemola-Jones said the contract was going out on tender because the previous contract had expired.

Masemola-Jones said the agencies would be paid service fees based on the value of bookings they mad e.

Julie Fevrier, who heads Travel Manor, one of the three outgoing agents, said: "The travel agents are appointed, but you are contacted for quotations. It's not to say that you have the business; you have to compete with other travel agents."

The tender closed on September 14.

DA chief whip Watty Watson voiced concern over the tender after his inquiries were thwarted and he was told to direct questions to the secretary to parliament.

The Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), which won a legal battle to get records of claims against MPs implicated in the Travelgate scandal, said it was promised new safeguards to prevent a repeat of that scandal.

Speaker Max Sisulu said last year that of the 79 MPs implicated in the scandal, six had been prosecuted and the remaining 73 would not be charged.

He said parliament would write off R12-million in Travelgate debts.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini was among those implicated in the scandal. She was fined R120000.

"We cannot afford another Travelgate incident where people entrusted with maintaining oversight over the actions of government are themselves implicated in activity which is extremely prejudicial to the role and standing of parliament," said Jay Kruuse of the PSAM.

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