[OSGeo Africa] Another dodgy GIS tender - City of Joburg

Gavin Fleming gavinjfleming at gmail.com
Sat Oct 12 08:44:27 PDT 2019

Hi all

Someone’s obviously giving or receiving instructions or tips to government entities in SA that they can renew their ESRI ELAs without going to tender by invoking the so-called ‘SITA framework agreement’ or pleading sole supplier status. This will keep the process out of the public eye despite being quite nefarious. 

But if the government entity is forced to go to ‘open’ tender (that’s a farce) then they should just do some searching and replacing in their tender ToR to make sure there’s no ‘ESRI’ or ‘ArcGIS’ but leave all the other terms unchanged. I’m sorry but that’s not going to be enough to disguise that fact that the attached City of Joburg GIS tender is a blatant attempt to simply renew their ESRI ELA, much like the DRDLR tender mentioned a few weeks ago on this list (5/2/2/1-RDLR 0033(2019/2020)). 

Is this a case of City of Joburg recklessly embarking on yet another round of fruitless and wasteful expenditure (hello PFMA, Treasury, SITA) and admitting to dire vendor lock-in, or ESRI abusing their dominant market position (hello Competition Commission), or both?

If they had designed their systems properly in the first place (complying with MIOS, being interoperable and service-oriented etc.) then changing components or service providers from time to time should not have an impact on operations. One must ask, why are all these entities so desperate to hang on to their existing systems? (or, what’s in it for them?)

City of Joburg, DRDLR and other government entities following this approach must be forced to re-write and re-issue these tenders so they really are open and purely solution-based and so that FOSS GIS service providers (and even other proprietary vendors) have a fair chance of competing. 

As a small ray of hope, just compare the Emalahleni GIS RfP (ELM 25/2019). It’s not perfect (it still has strange requests like '5 Admin licenses for GIS Administrators’) but on the face of it it’s offering an almost level playing field. 


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