Pretoria - Failure by the Gauteng MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, to disclose the names of companies blacklisted from doing business with the government has sparked suspicions that some of them are still being awarded tenders despite their alleged criminal offences.
This after Nkomo-Ralehoko evaded a written parliamentary question regarding businesses previously found guilty of transgressing government tender processes or receiving tenders irregularly.
She was also asked to disclose the names of blacklisted companies listed in the tender default register.
The questions were posed by DA MPL Adriana Randall, who wanted to know whether the names of businesses with criminal records were included in the tender default register.
In response, Nkomo-Ralehoko passed the buck to accounting officers.
She said: “Accounting officers or authorities are required to report directly to the National Treasury the restriction of a supplier where any penalty is being imposed on a supplier in line with Instruction Note 3 of 2016/17.
“National Treasury will load the details on the database of prohibited suppliers after ensuring that accounting officers or authorities have complied with the supply chain legal framework."
When asked to furnish the names of businesses found to have flouted supply chain rules, Nkomo-Ralehoko said: “Information can be obtained directly from departments and entities.”
Randall raised concerns that the provincial government would fail to identify businesses that were not eligible to do business with the government if the registry had not been utilised.
The MEC said: “Central supplier database maintains the restriction of businesses and their directors/owners and such reflects on the business report.”
Yesterday, Randall expressed disappointment with the MEC’s response that it was the responsibility of accounting officers or authorities to report directly to national Treasury regarding the restriction of companies. “It is clear that the MEC is now shifting the blame to accounting officers as the reason as to why there are no suppliers from Gauteng listed on this database,” she said.
Randall said the answer was indicative of the fact that Nkomo-Ralehoko and her department did not have such a list in place, “because if they had they would have been able to produce one without referring me to another database and having to ask each department and entity separately”.
“Given the recent PPE (personal protective equipment) tender that was awarded at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, which did not follow due process, as well as the sanitisation of schools later in 2020, where it became evident that due process was not followed as well, this blasé attitude is only encouraging further corruption within our provincial government,” she said.
“The corrupt manner in which tenders are awarded in Gauteng predates the Covid-19 pandemic, which only highlighted the fact that only those who are connected to officials and politicians in the ruling government are able to score lucrative contracts for their companies.”