Anti-Corruption Efforts Underway in South Africa
Amidst the toxicity and fallout from the Gupta family’s manipulation of State in South Africa, with its tentacles spreading across the continent and around the world, it is heartening to find efforts undertaken by the business community effectively underway to right past wrongs and restore corporate integrity to the bastion of African opportunity.
Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama has recently launched a court application to set aside their Board’s decision to award a R2.5 billion tender to the Gupta-linked German information technology (IT) company T-Systems, rather than offer the five year tender to the business mogul Robert Gumede’s Gijima Holdings, which scored the highest points.
According to multiple news sources at close of last week, Gama’s affidavit, filed in the Pretoria High Court on October 23rd, exposes how the Board’s ‘Acquisition and Disposal Committee (ADC)’ in essence, “…defied Transnet’s management – as well as National Treasury’s advice – by ceding its IT data services tender to the German company on February 22nd.”
The tender’s being awarded to a Gupta manipulated German provider would inevitably continue to besmirch not just South Africa’s corporate climate and the lingering resonants of ‘State Capture’ within it, but export such coercion, collusion and monopolisation abroad. This has already been the case with internationally acclaimed agencies offering financial and communications services, (perhaps at one time) hosting truly global reach and is a trend intrepid businessmen and women in South Africa wish to cut off at the knees.
Gijima’s Chief Operating Officer, Maphum Nxumalo, said the company wished to thank the National Treasury for its intervention to stop such wasteful expenditures.
“We are dismayed and disillusioned that major German-owned companies have been involved in state capture and corruption with impunity, while local companies are cheated of contracts,” Nxumalo said. “Gijima scored the highest points overall for price and preference. After deliberations by officials in legal services, supply chain management and the IT chief information officer– it was decided that the tender be awarded to Gijima [Robert Gumede’s company].”
However, “…ADC, a sub-committee of the Transnet board, differed with [the decision] and instead recommended that the contract be awarded to T-Systems and not Gijima.”
Transnet informed T-Systems on March 2 2017 that it was the successful bidder and issued a letter of intent, while Gijima was told its bid was unsuccessful.
In response, Solly Tshitangano, the Chief Director of Governance, Monitoring and Compliance at the National Treasury, warned in a letter dated July 18 that Transnet’s Board had an obligation to award the tender to the preferred bidder, Gijima.
While this case is ongoing, it is encouraging to find acts of public and private sector bureaucratic manipulation being checked in South Africa (as perhaps a rehabilitative exercise) on an as needed basis, with proper due diligence and dignity; a thoughtfulness and mindset shared by the entrepreneurs and political icons who helped shape the Rainbow Nation to a hub of business prosperity and one receptive to international partnerships of mutual benefit and above reproach.