Transnet ?tender?bender

2014-06-22 15:00

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Matsete Basadi Consortium scrambles for local suppliers after securing locomotives deal

So you’ve just won a sizable slice of a R14?billion tender to provide Transnet with new locomotives, but you don’t really know where to get the locally manufactured components the tender was based on.

The Matsete Basadi Consortium, one of the local partners in Transnet’s enormous R50?billion rolling stock acquisition, might know how you feel.

Matsete is partner to China South Rail (CSR), the company that scored the lion’s share of the train tender early this year.

When pushed by CSR to provide its list of local suppliers for a multitude of components last month, Matsete seems to have found 19.

Unfortunately, the majority of them have never heard of their possible involvement. At least four of them do not manufacture the items they are supposed to contribute to the trains.

Among the requirements Transnet set for bidders was a stringent minimum local content requirement of 60%.

That, according to documents in the possession of City Press’ sister paper Rapport, is Matsete’s job.

The consortium, however, seems to be making up a sourcing plan as it goes along.

The summarised minutes of a meeting between Transnet, CSR and Matsete dated May 16 orders Matsete to “provide the list of components they can immediately supply to CSR”.

It also notes that Matsete is “equally accountable for the successful delivery of supplier development requirements” and asks the consortium to also “immediately” provide a list of local companies it is partnering with to provide the components.

The subsequent list, of which City Press also has a copy, cites potential local manufacturers for a pitiful 22 of more than 300 components, mostly tiny items like nuts, bolts, LED lights, smoke detectors and CCTV cameras.

The 14 of the 19 companies that could be found and contacted said they know nothing about any prospective partnerships involving Matsete or the trains.

Among the suppliers listed for components they do not manufacture is MSA South Africa. According to the list, MSA could supply locally made machine room lamps.

“That is not one of the products in our range,” said Wagied Allie, who works for the company.

Another potential local supplier, for “safety interlocking”, is JA Plant in Kempton Park.

“I don’t sell anything like that,” said JA Plant’s Riaan van Loggerenberg. “We are in the concrete business.”

A number of the potential suppliers suggested that Matsete got their details off the internet.

Gerhard Marais, the owner of Vox Fire and apparent potential supplier of fire alarms for 359 locomotives, as well as Martin Jones, owner of Intervid and supplier of the CCTV cameras, know nothing about their imminent partnerships.

Lietsiso Mohapeloa, spokesperson for the Matsete Basadi Consortium, did not answer his cellphone or reply to SMSes. CSR also didn’t answer queries.

Transnet’s spokesperson, Mboniso Sigonyela, said CSR’s proposal met the local content requirements on paper.

“Local content commitments on the declaration document are about the components that will be localised, not specific suppliers,” he said.

“We have no reason to believe that any of these suppliers have breached any of these local content requirements. It is only when they start manufacturing that Transnet will monitor compliance,” he said.

“Transnet is not aware of and has not had sight of internal documents between CSR and its local partners.”

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