BEE company MX Distributors is seeking an interdict to stop a three-year tender award for the supply of R350m worth of oils to Eskom power stations, a move the utility says could be catastrophic for power supply.

A Business Day report says Eskom has been accused of being ‘anti-transformation’ in a legal battle over the tender to supply lubricants to all its power stations.

In 2017 Eskom put out a tender aimed at targeting BEE-compliant suppliers. One of the 58 firms that submitted bids was MX Distributors, which entered into a strategic partnership with Engen in its bid for the contract.

Director Mlungisi Nhlanhla accuses Eskom of ‘undermining’ its stated aim of targeting economic transformation.

In court papers filed in the KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg), Nhlanhla says while the tenders were being adjudicated, it came to his attention that Eskom had put out a second ‘identical’ tender, which did not require any BEE compliance.

‘My attorneys wrote to Eskom, asking for an explanation. But we got no response,’ Nhlanhla said.

‘Eskom has been secretly approaching specific identified companies and calling for new bids.’

Nhlanhla is seeking an order to stop the process pending a review of the decision to issue the second tender. When the matter came before the court last week, an order was taken by consent that the matter would be argued on 8 August, and that until then Eskom would not adjudicate or award the second tender.

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