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Katlego Modipane
Misunderstanding Mondays: Government tenders & corruption
14H42 MONDAY, 03 DECEMBER 2012
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Black Economic Empowerment has often come under fire for only benefitting a few elite individuals. Most analysts, however, ignore to mention one of the root causes of this, namely government tenders (with regards to how and to whom they are awarded). Most choose to focus on the structural flaws of the system and do not see the intrinsic link between tenders and (now) Broad Based Economic Empowerment. Yes BBBEE is itself more concerned with the private sector but here is the reality, government tenders account for a high percentage of black individuals that become millionaires rapidly. I'm not sure of the stats but this could be much higher that for the lotto! One of the problems is that government tenders are awarded to the same individuals over and over again. 

For President Zuma's Nkandla project, one woman (we wont mention names) was awarded three different tenders for what the department of Public Works calls the Prestige Project. One of these tenders was worth R46 million. The woman is reported to having been awarded numerous other tenders through various companies that she owns. She may very well be a brilliant business woman who has simply taken advantage of public sector opportunities but surely it cant be right tht she is "eating bread" alone?  This highlights a need to strengthen systems and apply safeguards that will prevent the same individuals and companies from "winning" all the tenders. That leads us to another fundamental flaw in the government tender process and that pertains to the procurement process which in the first place allows undeserving companies from winning tenders and then of course repeating this feat. Don't get me wrong, this happens all over the world and in South Africa, Mangaung is notorious for this (Oops!). In a nutshell, corruption is rife. 

But you already know that, maybe you've even lost business opportunities because of that. Why should you even care? I think thats exactly the point! If service delivery was being carried out meticulously, corruption wouldn't draw the news headlines that it does... And while corruption does affect service delivery, at the moment we are loosing hundreds of millions to corruption and loosing hundreds more in the fight against it, its a loosing battle. Why not adopt a different approach. Why not say to Ministers etc, what you do with your time and budget is up to you as long as there is exceptional service delivery. Again, yes it throws us back into the dark age a little bit but isnt that how we used to do it? The chief got everything from his people but made sure they had had everything they needed in return? We are so caught up in trying to live up to international standards and policies that we are perhaps not employing the best strategies for us as a nation. And our government is too focused on what they can make from every deal and not enough on what they can do for the people... 

Photographer: Ante Elias

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