Prasa accused of derailing black business

2012-06-02 09:26

The BlackBusiness Council has accused Passenger Rail Service SA (Prasa) of sidelining blackbusiness when the parastatal issued a multi-billion rand tender to acquire train coaches.

BBC secretary general Sandile Zungu said the organisation would, on behalf of all blackbusiness, “record our serious reservations at the approach that Prasa has announced” regarding its “acquisition programme for rolling stock (coaches)”.

The government announced in April that it will pump R4 billion into Prasa over the next three years for the rolling stock acquisition programme.

“Suggesting that blackbusiness must wait until a suitable foreign contractor has been selected, is tantamount to saying black people have no role to play and therefore no value to add in bid stages, technical and financial work,” said Zungu.

“Prasa is suggesting that black people do not have the skills. Why can’t black people be involved in the tender process from the start?” he asked.

“This suggestion is extremely dangerous as it feeds into the stereotype that BEE is about handouts. With due respect, we reject such a notion,” he said.

Zungu noted that the BBC was not trying to control state procurement.

Prasa Group CEO Lucky Montana said the BBC’s statement was unfair and the council had not approached Prasa with their concerns.

“Prasa views the issue of BEE as a historic necessity in economic transformation which is embedded in our Constitution” said Montana.

Prasa’s approach to procuring new rolling stock focuses on unlocking fulfilling government’s industrial policy objective. “We are currently involved in the bidding process where bidders are encouraged to submit their proposals by September 10 2012,” he said.

Montana said the timing of the statement seemed to coincide with key political discussions currently underway.
Prasa refused to comment without legal advice.

“Prasa is more than willing to engage with the BBC and to address its concerns, however, individual bidders will engage Prasa through the normal procurement processes” he said.

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