Sunday, February 26, 2012

DA Statement on Sekunjalo Tender Withdrawal

The statement below was issued to day by the Democratic Alliance.

The DA welcomes the withdrawal of the tainted R800 million tender allocated to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium. The tender was for policing South Africa's marine resources.

The DA has been fighting for justice on this matter for the last four months. The Department's decision to withdraw the tender was based on a legal opinion and forensics report that I exposed in a letter to the media published on Friday morning. The tender was revoked that afternoon.

It is important now that the withdrawal of the tender must not divert from the serious questions that now have to be asked about the bid adjudication process in the department.

The DA calls on Minister Tina Joemat-Petterssen to ensure that public finance law is followed in all respects. Those responsible for causing this conflict of interest by awarding the tender must be held responsible.

Should the Minister fail to do so, the DA will take steps to involve the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, and Auditor-General, Mr Nombembe, in determining who is responsible for this.

A forensic report in the DA's possession exposes bias on behalf of members of the committee in the bid adjudication process.

Irregularities of this kind have far reaching effects for South Africans. The livelihoods of thousands of South Africans are threatened by government's mismanagement of our marine resources.

Disciplinary procedures or criminal charges must be instituted against officials to ensure accountability and to prevent future irregularities and negligence.

The awarding of the infamous 'Sekunjalo tender' was announced in November last year, but Smit Amandla Marine, the previous contract holders, took the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to court, thereby stalling the process.

The forensic report notes an apparent conflict of interest, given that the Sekunjalo Consortium would be patrolling marine resources being fished by their subsidiary company.

Premier Fishing has been granted a large portion of fishing quotas. The company also submitted a bid, citing the same financial statements as Sekunjalo.

Decisions to award tenders in this way puts South Africa's scarce marine heritage at stake. The DA awaits a response from the Minister on what her next move will be...
Media Enquiries:

Pieter van Dalen MP
Shadow Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries
083 655 2203

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