Sanral to open up contracts after complaints from business group
“We want what belongs to us.”
These were the words of black business owners at a meeting with Sanral board members and the national CEO at the Sanral offices in Baywest on Wednesday.
The National chair of the African Chambers of Business (ACOB), Luvuyo Popo, said Sanral was failing to correctly implement its own preferential procurement policy — making life difficult for business owners.
Earlier in January, ACOB sent Sanral board members a letter of demands, citing various cases where black-owned small, medium and micro enterprises had been overlooked for Sanral projects — regardless, they said, whether the company met all the requirements.
At the top of the meeting's agenda was the removal of a regional manager whom ACOB members said they had investigated for two years after allegations that he gave preferential treatment when handing out contracts.
“In addition, there have been reports of him being racist, yet he continues to sit on the bid evaluation committee of Sanral. Today we want him out,” Popo said.
Responding, Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said the investigation had been concluded.
“The document stating the outcomes of the investigation is on my desk,” he said adding that the company would be acting according to the outcomes.
Business owners travelled from as far as Mthatha and George to speak to Sanral board members and stress their frustrations on project availability, particularly for grade 1- 4 100% black-owned businesses.
Business owners asked that some of the routine road maintenance projects that were recently advertised, be re-advertised to accommodate more SMME's.
They said projects for roads that stretched further than 100km should be divided into smaller contracts so that more than one contractor could get a slice of the pie.
“Even the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] himself — during a meeting with the business community in May 2019 — told us he was worried that there were no East Cape-registered companies or vehicles working on the roads.
“When the Israelites were taken out of Egypt, God said to them, 'make sure you take everything'. Today the Israelites are rich because they took everything.
“We want what belongs to us!” Popo said as various SMME owners applauded him.
Speaking about the challenges in the mining sector, Sicelo Bota, a mining consultant and qualified geologist, said wealth should be shared.
“Sanral needs to do away with having the main contractor do its own mining, use its own borrow pit, and use its own trucks to supply material.
“It is not inclusive. There are communities where the mines are situated who depend on work from these projects,” he said.
“Sanral has been preaching its black industrialist transformation programme for the past three years, but has yet to implement it,” Bota said.
After a seven-hour deadlock between the two parties, a mutual understanding was reached.
Macozoma commended the business owners for their unity.
Macozoma and the Sanral board representatives agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding based on deveMacozomand capacitating black businesses.
Sanral further agreed to opening-up space for more SMME participation incapacitatingining and routine road maintenance projects.