Qaanitah Hunter | Dear tenderpreneur, eat while you can

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Qaanitah Hunter writes a tongue-in-cheek letter to a potential tenderpreneur (iStock)
Qaanitah Hunter writes a tongue-in-cheek letter to a potential tenderpreneur (iStock)

With so much corruption going on, the chances of a tenderpreneur getting caught and hauled to court is slim. Qaanitah Hunter writes a tongue-in-cheek letter to a potential tenderpreneur who is still eating while they can and ensuring there will soon be nothing left to steal.

Dear tendepreneur, 

There could never be a better time to be a tenderpreneur in South Africa than right now.

With the state of disaster declared and emergency procurement amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it is raining tenders.

There’s so many tenders, your "guy" in supply chain has even told you to write your own specs for the tender.

Why leave anything to chance?

So you will supply PPE because you got another guy selling it to you cheap, cheap.

The tender is for 500 000 units of PPE and you only have 50 000 units, but that’s just details.

You submit the tender and your "guy" WhatsApps you that all is on board. He must be satisifed with the R200 000 you gave him from the R100 million tender you got. He musn’t get greedy!

Because it is a state of disaster, there’s no PFMA nuisance to worry about. Tenders are centralised, so there’s no drama with the bid adjudicating committee.

You can get the tender and the payment very quickly.

State of chaos 

I understand that you are a little irritated because government departments are in a perpetual state of chaos, as they keep having to shut offices and reopen as cases of Covid-19 become more frequent. You had your eye on another tender, but if you thought things worked slowly in government before Covid-19, this pandemic has definitely slowed things down even more.

Your other "guy" is working from home so he can’t get anything done. Government officials are not used to working from home and, when they do, you have an official joining a parliamentary meeting from his bed, shirtless.

You know you're not the only one in the PPE game. All your comrades have their hands in this. Don’t even bother to front another company. I mean, why must you share the loot?

Another comrade of yours warned you that the taps will soon closed. You were rightfully angry when that muncipality didn’t pay you because there’s no more money there. I know you were banking on that R10 million.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is irritating. He is cutting everywhere and centralised procurement from Treasury is just hogwash!

How is your comrade who does the water tankers going to survive?

So, I know you want your R100 million quick and easy.

Oversight in municipal councils, provincial legislatures and Parliament is sluggish, so the chances of being caught are getting slimmer and slimmer.

And everyone’s doing it, so there’s no risk of anyone in being a whistleblower.

And if over-eager journalists find out, just deny.

If they are able to expose the corruption, call for a formal investigation.

You and I both know that formal investigations take ages to complete.

First, there will be an internal investigation. I am thinking six to eight months. 

Then the political head will appoint an expensive law firm to conduct an investigation. (They always like those WMC law firms!)

Your guy in the minister’s office will send you the findings beforehand and then it will be buried in the political head’s office.

You and I know it will take months until a journalist catches wind of the report.

Then, under pressure, the political head will take months to appoint another law firm to conduct diciplinary processes against your "guy" and others who approved the tender.

It is not your business. You transferred the R200 000 into your guy’s wife’s sister’s account. He will survive. 

Statement declaring innocence

Despite the findings against you, you will issue a statement declaring your innocence and continue getting tenders in other departments you have a foot in.

You will even been seen at a birthday party of a famous politician. The said tjatarag reporter will report that you bankrolled the politician’s lavish lifestyle.

So what? That is your comrade from the struggle.

You will be worried at first when the Hawks start circling, but when you meet the investigating officer you will realise that he has no idea what’s going on. They are useless, those guys.

Then President Cyril Ramaphosa will issue a Special Investigating Unit proclamation for them to investigate.

What a relief! 

The Hawks will stop their investigation.

The SIU proclamation is so broad it involves all corruption in all government departments related to all Covid-19 procurement.

Your tender is thinner than a needle in a haystack. I mean what is R100 million PPE deal compared to leasing of buildings?

You still delivered some PPE. They must just sit down.

In your comrade WhatsApp group, you saw that the department of justice cut funding to law enforcement agencies. The SIU has to do this big investigation with R10 million budget cut.

Then say, by some miracle, the SIU finalises its report and you are implicated, it will be submitted to the president and not made public. 

Five years gone

It will first collect dust in his office for a few months before it is sent to the NPA. 

The NPA will beg the SIU for months for the information they used to start building their case.

By then, five years has gone by, there’s a new head of the SIU and they won’t know what the NPA is talking about.

And if it goes to court, you have some WhatsApp messages with your comrade as insurance.

If they come after you, you just release those messages. You will see how quickly the case will die.

You didn’t struggle to be poor. Eat while you still can. 

 - Qaanitah Hunter is News24's political editor 

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