By Nnasaretha Kgamanyane
The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) executive chairperson, Bridget John has urged government to hire qualified people to provide procurement services for good delivery to clients.
Speaking at the PPADB media brief at Gaborone Sun recently, John said that procurement job is not a minor task as it needs people who have been trained and have a good background in the job. She said that this will not only benefit the institution but will upgrade the quality of services government gives to Batswana. She added that PPADB is an institution that was primarily established to adjudicate and award tenders, register contractors wishing to do business with the government and provide advise on public procurement and asset disposal.
John said the organisation uses more than two people to independently evaluate tender proposals. She said that this avoids situations where two evaluators can influence each other on who to give the tender. It promotes transparency because after the evaluations, all the information is compiled and a recommendation is made which makes it easier to spot any signs of corruption.”The evaluation can clearly point to the company that must be awarded the tender but if the recommendation says something else, we then review the proposals to ensure that the right bidder gets the tender. When making such evaluations, PPADB spot-checks the projects,” she pointed out.She said that PPADB checks if companies they have given tenders before had performed well. This is meant to make sure those that performed badly will not be given tenders.
19 March 2013
“Some 12 months ago, none of the taxis on our roads were assembled in South Africa. Today about 50 percent of all taxis that are purchased are made or assembled here in South Africa, and we’re moving towards the target of localizing two-thirds of assembly in the taxi industry by 2015.”
The government is leading a campaign to promote the local procurement of supplies across all industries in order to boost the economy’s capacity to create jobs.
He said the labour-absorbing capacity of local manufacturing industries had to be boosted to stimulate job creation and economic growth, adding that a strong local manufacturing sector would have a positive impact on South Africa’s balance of payments.
“We are working in partnership with a major manufacturer, Toyota, who has expanded the factory in eThekwini, as well as a partnership with the IDC and a Chinese manufacturer called the Beijing Automotive Works that has started a factory in Gauteng.
These companies had already employed 220 people to assemble taxis locally, with the number set to increase significantly by 2015, Patel said.
In October 2011, the government, business, labour and community-based organisations signed a Local Procurement Accord committing the parties to work together to increase local procurement as part of South Africa’s plans to create five- million jobs over the next decade.
And in December, the government put the buying power of the state firmly behind local manufacturers, with new amendments to the the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act allowing the government to name sectors and products that require a minimum level of local content to qualify for state procurement.
Bus manufacturing was among the first batch of sectors designated for local procurement under the amended law, resulting in the local sourcing of 80 percent of all inputs and supplies in the manufacturing of bus bodies for the rapid public transport systems in Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Other products designated in the first batch included power pylons, rolling stock, TV set-top boxes, clothing, canned vegetables, footwear and leather products.
In January, the Department of Trade and Industry announced a second batch of designated products, namely electrical valves, manual and pneumatic actuators, electrical and telecommunication cables, and components of solar water heaters.
Arms Procurement Commission : Media Statement
The Commission has noted with concern the perception raised in a number of newspaper articles of the weekend of the 9th to 10th March 2013 and the immediately following days that this Commission does not intend, or seems to avoid, interrogating the allegations of corruption, fraud and other wrongdoing against the African National Congress (ANC), its officials, members and other people associated with it.
The perception or assertion arises from a letter dated 26 February 2013 that the Commission’s Chairperson had addressed to attorneys Abrahams Kiewits Incorporated of Cape Town in response to a demand that they made on behalf of their client, Mr Terry Crawford Browne, that we should summons the ANC and its officials to appear before the Commission to answer allegations against them and to produce certain documents (see below).
As is now the standard modus operandi of Mr Terry Crawford-Browne and his attorneys, correspondence exchanged between them and the Commission is routinely released to the media. No wonder that the letter in question is now in the public domain.
The demand to summons the ANC is a typical example of another unfortunate experience that the Commission has had in its interaction with Mr Terry Crawford-Browne and his attorneys, namely, the persistent attempt to prescribe to the Commission how to conduct its work, in particular, whom to call to appear before it and at what stage. We shall revert to the latter aspect in due course.
We are of the view that the statement that the Commission was not aware of the “evidence implicating the ANC” has been read out of context and blown out of proportion. Evidence and allegations are not the same thing. The Commission is fully aware of the various allegations levelled against some officials and the members of the ANC and other people associated with it.
These allegations form part of the on-going investigations that the Commission is busy with. In this regard, there is a tendency for some people, including, unfortunately, some media practitioners and commentators to elevate allegations to the status of evidence even before they have been tested in an appropriate forum. The fact is that even if there is evidence in the public domain implicating some people it still has to be tested for veracity and credibility before conclusions can be drawn.
We point out that the Commission is in possession of massive documentation containing information implicating many people and entities in the subject matter of our investigations. The public must understand that before the information is properly interrogated in the upcoming public hearings the Commission cannot be party to any exercise to canvass it in the public domain and bandy around the names of those implicated.
We have a duty to safeguard the information placed at our disposal and not to divulge it prematurely. Nor can we disclose the identities of the people implicated before they are given the opportunity to answer for themselves.
The principles of natural justice demand that we be fair to both the complainants and the suspects. For this reason, the witnesses who are given access to the documents in our possession cannot be allowed to divulge the information gained before the issues are ventilated in the public hearings.
The media statement that we issued on the 24th November 2012 wherein we announced the intention to commence with the public hearings on the 4th March 2013 was accompanied by a list of the witnesses to be called in the first phase of the public hearings.
We explained that most of these witnesses were selected based on their roles in exposing the allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package. It may be recalled that the list include people who have written extensively on the subject and seem to have extensive knowledge of what transpired. It was imperative to fully canvass their evidence to lay the ground work for the subsequent hearings.
We made it clear then that it is in the subsequent phases that key people who were involved in the acquisition process as well as those who are implicated in allegations of wrongdoing will be called. This is how we planned to conduct the public hearings and that programme has not changed.
It is, however, not cast in stone and may be altered if circumstances demand it. But the decision as to whom to summons at what stage and which documents to call for falls within the exclusive discretion of the Commission and we will not be dictated to in this regard.
It is apposite at this stage to refer to paragraph 1.5. of the Terms of Reference:
“Whether any person/s, within and/or outside the Government of South Africa, improperly influenced the award or conclusion of any of the contracts awarded and concluded in the SDPP procurement process and, if so:
1.5.1 whether legal proceedings should be instituted against such persons, and the nature of such legal proceedings ….”
This is clearly one of the issues we must probe and to suggest that we will not investigate people involved in the government of South Africa is rather mischievous.
Finally, we have released a media statement explaining why the public hearings that were to start on the 4th March 2013 had to be postponed to the 5thAugust 2013 to run until the end of November 2013.
A revised programme of action and a schedule of witnesses to be called, the dates on which each will appear as well as the venue of the hearings will be released to the public timeously before the 5th August 2013. We trust that everybody, including the media, will give this Commission the space to focus on the preparations for those upcoming hearings and complete its investigations.
Statement issued by Mr William Baloyi, Spokesperson: Arms Procurement Commission, March 15 2013
Text of Judge Willie Seriti’s letter to Abrahams Kiewitz Attorneys:
Arms Procurement Commission
Private Bag X02
Tel: 012 358 3999
Fax: 012 358 3969
Abrahams Kiewitz Incorporated
For attention: Mr Charles Abrahams
Dear Mr Abrahams
1. Your letter dated 25 February 2013 has reference.
2. Currently, no evidence implicating the African National Congress has been brought to the attention of the Commission. Should such evidence come to light, the Commission will deal with the matter as it deems appropriate.
3. The Commission wishes to express its irritation with the persistent allegation by your client and yourselves that evidence leaders are kept in silos, implying that certain information is withheld from some ofthem. No evidence leader is kept in the dark about the activities of the Commission. We hope that this allegation will not be repeated. The incessant attempts to tell the Commission what to do should come to an end.
ARMS PROCUREMENT COMMISSION
Seriti JA JUDGE LW SERITI
Chairperson of the Commission
By Ekow Quandzie
Themed “The strategic role of professional procurement in the development of Africa”, the event is expected to bring together corporate executives, financial controllers and directors, public sector decision makers as well as supply chain, logistics and procurement practitioners from all sectors of African economies
The region wide multi-sectorial conference is expected to give the continent’s public and private sector executives and decision makers an opportunity to gain insights into professional procurement and its strategic link to long term economic development.
By Isabelle Ramdoo
Thursday, Feb. 28th, 2013
After 10 years of negotiations, how can policymakers on both sides revive a flagging relationship?
Trade negotiations between Europe and Africa seem to have stalled. Despite both sides last year celebrating the 10th anniversary of the start of negotiations over economic partnership agreements (EPAs), their attention now appears to have shifted elsewhere.
In crisis-ridden Europe, leaders are stressing the important contribution of trade to jobs and growth for economic recovery in Europe, as they did during the last European council in early February. They call for ambitious, proactive and constructive trade engagements with their “strategic partners”. But, interestingly, these partners are located on the other side of the Atlantic and in emerging Asian economies, as a letter by José Manuel Barroso, president of the European commission to Herman Van Rompuy, president of the council, highlights.
In his address to the commission, Barroso made no mention of Africa or the controversial EPAs, which haven’t been finalised by many, despite 10 long and difficult years of negotiations. And it’s no surprise why: the negotiations have been disappointing. Of the 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries negotiating with the EU, only 36 finalised an agreement, of which only 18 are in Africa.
Signals from Africa have not been much better: the continent is increasingly turning east and south, towards emerging markets, and is giving less attention to Europe. Although a few countries remained truly committed to an ambitious trade relationship with Europe, the lastAfrican Union summit, held in January, made no mention of EU-Africa trade. Instead, it focused on Africa’s own domestic economic dynamics, prioritising deeper regional economic integration and increased intra-Africa trade – a logical step and one which Europe itself has followed since the 1950s.
Given the political lethargy, the eurozone crisis that legitimises inward-facing economic politics and new dynamics in Africa, should we conclude that the trade relationship between Europe and Africa is dead? No. Despite all this, there are reasons and ways to resuscitate an ailing trade deal.
The reasons are that both regions remain important to each other: Europe is still the main trade, development and investment partner of most African countries. And despite its relatively low volume of trade with the EU, Africa is nevertheless a crucial source of hard and soft commodities for Europe, and in particular of strategic metals and minerals, essential for its high-tech and green-tech industries. Furthermore, the recent new discoveries of hydrocarbons are of crucial geo-strategic importance – they represent an important alternative, given the difficult political situation in the Middle East, notably with Iran. By keeping trade talks locked in the EPA debates, Europe might accentuate resentments in Africa and therefore miss out on the emerging opportunities. Continued game playing would clearly be counter-productive for both sides.
Develop a partnership of equals
What is needed is a more mature relationship, one that is based on understanding the changing dynamics of both partners and on a real partnership of equals. Europe and Africa have to be clear on their agenda, define their expectations and priorities according to agreed values, principles and interests. The shifting international balance of power places Africa in a better position to revive its partnerships to make them more effective – the challenge will be to translate the new vision into action.
On its side, Europe’s diminishing political clout in Africa implies that it needs to rethink its strategy to become a smarter partner and its engagement with developing countries in Asia or Latin America is proof that Europe can cut its coat according to its cloth. Relationships with Asia and Latin America are more business-like in nature and reflect the priorities and ambitions of each partner. The EU–Latin America and the Caribbean summit, held in January, focused on alliance for sustainable development to promote investment of social and environmental quality. In Asia, the focus is clearly on strategic economic partnerships, with specific relationships nurtured with China, India, Japan and South Korea.
Clear, consistent communications are key
Both partners have to learn to listen to each other and avoid mixed signals and conflicting incentives. Currently, Europe does not have a coherent agenda for Africa: it has different and multispeed approaches to North Africa, South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Even towards the last segment, it has different policies as the recent desire tofocus engagement on least developed countries underlines.
Appreciate regional differences
In addition, the limited success of the EPAs should teach policymakers that insisting on comprehensive trade agreements with countries that have different expectations simply does not work. Agreements should instead reflect the real interests and capacity of countries. Botswana is not Guinea. European wonks should be careful in their engagement with North Africa so that political conditionalities do not ultimately backfire on the EU’s relationship with the whole region.
Timing is everything
The moment for change is opportune. The African Union has a new chairperson who has taken up the challenge to lift the continent into a new prosperous era. Beyond gathering her troops to deliver the “African renaissance”, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will have to reboot the collaboration with international partners. The challenge for her will be to balance Africa’s geo-strategic interests to get the most of all partners. For Europe, the challenge will be to plug into the new dynamics and remain relevant. But both sides need to think of a revived partnership that goes beyond trade and effectively support Africa’s structural transformation. It is the harder ask but one that will lead to the most sustainable mutual gains, and is something worth considering at theupcoming EU-Africa Summit, scheduled for the first half of 2014.
Isabelle Ramdoo is the trade and economic governance policy officer at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). Follow her on Twitter: @ir_ramdoo
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