Contractors march on education department demanding end of tender graft
A group of contractors have marched to the Gauteng department of education demanding the end of alleged corruption in tenders and for more companies to benefit from procurement.
Led by three bikers, the 100 contractors belonging to Concerned Companies Business Forum marched in the Johannesburg inner city from the Library Gardens to the department’s offices in Marshalltown.
Deputy chairperson of the forum, Malume Malefane, accused the department of having an entrenched culture of taking bribes for tenders.
“When you get a purchase order, it is known that you have to pay 10% of the purchase order. That money is paid in cash to an individual. You are either required to pay the money upfront or get the work and pay when you’ve done the work.
“In 2019, I got a purchase order to do maintenance at schools. It was for work worth R450,000. I had to set up an appointment with one of the officials. I met the guy here in town and paid him R45,000. You have to pay because if you do not, you will not get any work,” Malefane said.
Malefane claimed that if an individual contractor alerts the department of the illegal payment, that contractor gets excluded in future contracts.
A purchase order is a legal binding document between a service provider and the department. It details the items and services that the department has agreed to procure and the price it will pay.
The forum also accused the department of awarding contracts to the same companies for work that can be spread across many companies.
“We have members who are on the panel of companies registered to provide services but they are not getting jobs. But we have proof that there are companies in the same panel that get five to 10 jobs at a go. We want to know why certain companies are getting jobs and others do not,” Malefane said.
Most of the businesses that are protesting provide general maintenance services which include electrical work, plumbing and painting for the Gauteng education department.
Some also provide other services such as fencing. The forum submitted a memorandum of demands on March 19 and now wants to get answers on the issues it has raised.
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