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Carol Paton | Sanral's BEE policies and other Chinese puzzles

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Carol Paton.
Carol Paton.
Liza van Deventer/Fairlady

How did the Chinese companies that tendered for Sanral projects this time get past the BEE hurdle? That was the easy part, says Carol Paton.

The award of three of the four biggest road-building contracts in the country to Chinese firms two weeks ago by the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) came as a surprise. 

While very active in the rest of Africa, Chinese construction firms have not gained a foothold in SA. One reason is that SA has a well-developed construction industry. Second, the construction of public infrastructure is contracted through a competitive tender system and not on a government-to-government basis, which is how most of Africa does business with China. A third is that among the secondary objectives of public procurement, as enshrined in the Constitution, is black economic empowerment (BEE). 

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