Provantage has disputed a story in The Star that claims its winning of the Airport .tv business was “irregular and unfair”, saying the story was “malicious and factually incorrect”.
The Star claims the deal did not go through “a proper tender process, and an airport manager who helped negotiate the deal went to work for the winning contractor soon afterwards”. In a statement, Provantage says there was no tender process involved but an “unsolicited bid where we, Provantage, engaged Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) with a unique concept that provided a national solution to digital screens in all airports in South Africa. The model in Acsa prior to airport.tv was fragmented and commercially unsustainable”.
Managing director of Provantage, Jacques du Preez, told The Media Online at the time the company invested in state of the art technology and set up a massive infrastructure to ensure that advertisers could over two million high LSM viewers a month.
Du Preez and his team went on a “fact finding mission” to Europe and the US so as to come to grips with the ‘airport television’ concept before approaching Acsa with their idea. The company said most of the current airport media opportunities at the various airports around South Africa “are not tenders but media concessions that are agreed between Acsa and concessionaires, including screens operated in Cape Town Airport by a leading media concessionaire”.
The company has also disputed the claim that its general manager of its airport advertising division, Mzukisi (Mzi) Deliwe, was involved in the negotiations while still employed at Acsa. The allegations is “totally unfounded”, Du Preez said in the statement. The negotiation was handled by Acsa’s commercial director, Haroon Jeena, and an independent consultant mandated by Jeena to negotiate contractual terms. “Mzi Deliwe was an independent consultant dealing with advertising at OR Tambo only and this contract was for nine airports and therefore totally outside of his jurisdiction and / or authority levels. We officially employed Mzi Deliwe as the General Manager of our Airports Ads Division in 2012 as he is arguably the most competent Airport Advertising Executive in South Africa,” says Du Preez.
Provantage says it understands that Acsa’s then-managing director received a claim that there were irregularities in the awarding of the contract and launched an internal investigation managed by the procurement team at OR Tambo Airport. “Following a written response by the procurement team, the MD to our knowledge then instructed the company’s Internal Audit to verify, validate or negate the response from procurement,” Du Preez says.
“The investigation into the APTV contract by internal audit found no evidence to support the allegations that there was a breach in Airports Company South Africa’s procurement processes. Notwithstanding, internal audit made a recommendation to the company to tighten certain procurement processes. The internal audit report did not find any evidence of non-compliance with regulations, similarly the Internal Audit investigation found no evidence of possible collusion and or conflict of interest,” the statement said.
Provantage says the story was “irresponsible” as all processes were followed, as confirmed by the investigation.
“Airport.tv™ has been a huge success thus far and has reached all the objectives that were proposed to ACSA at the onset. We therefore want to assure our advertisers and clients that they can take comfort in the fact that these allegations are false. Airport.tv™ is proving to be a valuable part of the media mix in airports,” says Du Preez.