'It's not ethical!' Readers give their views on 'family members and state tenders' - Republik City News


‘It’s not ethical!’ Readers give their views on ‘family members and state tenders’, Republik City News


Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku presides over the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) donations from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in July.

Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images via Getty Images

  • News24 readers believe family members of government officials should not be allowed to do business with the state.
  • More than 120 readers took part in a discussion on the issue in the comments section of an article that asked for their views.
  • Readers have serious concerns about the transparency of the state’s tender processes.

With the ANC under fire for allegations of corruption in the procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts, News24 readers believe that family members of government officials should not be allowed to do business with the state.

READ | Mkhize does not own PPE manufacturing company – health ministry

Readers were asked whether the country’s tender processes should allow for family members of government officials to win state tenders. The vast majority of more than 120 readers who took part in the discussion, agreed that it should not be allowed.

“If the children and family members of senior ANC politicians are really such business experts to beat all other tenders for a government contract, they should also be able to be highly successful if they do business in the private sector. They therefore do not need to do business with government and should not do business with government,” wrote News24 reader Wynand Kok.

A reader with the username Ntombi Mzansi argued: “It’s not legal or ethical in a constitutional democracy, so shouldn’t even be considered an option. Not to mention that SA officials are already overpaid compared to most other countries. The ANC has, by itself, destroyed itself, and with it the dreams and livelihoods of its people. Vote them out!”

Readers also had concerns about the transparency of tender processes and some suggested more robust vetting of applications.

“I don’t care who gets the tender, as long as they won it fairly and do a good job. The issue for me with tenders is more around the procurement process. How can we make it more robust and professional so that it is not open to influence? My thought is that there should be a centralised body that oversees all government procurement. The organisation could even be a Chapter 9 institution. It should be connected to both the Auditor-General and the NPA and be responsible auditing procurement,” argued a reader with the username LawrenceJ.

Guidelines

Reader Neil Kennard-Davis suggested that Financial Intelligence Centre guidelines should be consulted to determine how to handle politically exposed persons (PEPs) who apply for state contracts.

“Among other things it specifically mentions: ‘Families of PEPs should also be given special attention by accountable institutions. The term “families” includes close family members, such as spouses, children, parents and siblings and may also include other blood relatives and relatives by marriage.’

“That should be clear enough,” wrote Kennard-Davis.

Last month, two members of the ANC’s leadership in Gauteng were hauled before the provincial integrity committee (PIC) following reports that the husband of presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, Chief Madzikane II Diko, had been awarded a R125-million Gauteng health department tender to provide PPE.

The department is headed by Bandile Masuku who, together with his wife, City of Johannesburg MMC (member of the mayoral committee) Loyiso Masuku, has a close relationship with the Dikos.

City Press also revealed that in the Free State, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s sons, as well as a number of his close allies, scored big PPE contracts.

“Family members and anyone else should be allowed to supply state department’s purchases, etc, but only when every government purchase is advertised on a dedicated internet website where every tender submitted and every order placed is open to public scrutiny on the website,” wrote Anton William.

“That transparency will prevent the continuation of blatant theft through underhand purchases and everyone will have an equal chance whether or not they are part of the political leadership and their families.”


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