Can period of appeal change?

Question:

Our company recently tendered for municipal work.

The tender was awarded to another company, and the municipality published a notice allowing 21 days within which to lodge an appeal.

We missed the notice due to the school holiday, and therefore did not appeal.

When we asked for an extension of the period of appeal, the municipality refused.

I still think we could be more successful if we could get a chance to show the municipality.

Can we force them to allow us an appeal?

Answer:

With a very similar set of facts, our high court recently had to consider whether a municipality could provide an extension of time for an appeal to a party beyond the 21-day period allowed for by the Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000, which regulates the conduct of munici­palities.

In deciding on the matter, the high court found that the municipality, as an administrative authority, had no general power to create an exception for a party who had failed to comply with the unconditional statutory time period.

The statutory provisions do not create a scope for exceptions to be made.

Accordingly, despite the merits of whether an appeal should be considered, the fact that the appeal was submitted late could not be condoned by the municipality. The municipality did not have the power to make an exception and allow a late appeal.

It therefore sounds as if the same principle may apply in your situation.

Despite your perceived merits in believing you have grounds for an appeal, the above principle will not allow your municipality to consider extending the period for the lodging of an appeal.

Government procurement, however, remains an intricate area and it is advisable that you obtain specialist legal advice before deciding on any specific course of action in this matter.

– Kitso Tshipa, associate, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys