Numsa to also go for Prasa
Monday 24 August 2015
On the basis of the rot that Office of the Public Protector unearthed in its investigation of the Public Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has decided to immediately call on National Treasury and Department of Trade Industry (DTI) to conduct an investigation on procurement that the agency undertook for its rail rolling stock since July 2012.
The aim of this investigation is to assess whether Prasa complied with legislation that calls on the agency as an organ of state to procure local goods and services on the basis of minimum thresholds for local production for the rail rolling stock sector as stipulated in the 2011 Preferential Procurement Regulations.
In terms of the regulations, any state entity such as Prasa must from July 2012 ensure that in its procurement for the manufacture of diesel locomotives 55% is locally procured, 60% of electric locomotives is made up of local content, 65 % of electric multiple units (EMUs) must be manufactured and contain local content and that 80% is the minimum threshold for local content in the production of wagons.
The reason that Numsa is calling for this investigation is threefold. Firstly, the 37 complaints that the Office of the Public Protector investigated predates the coming into effect of the 2011 preferential regulations. Secondly, the Public Protector found “a culture of systematic flouting of procurement policies and of the agency’s supply chain management policies”. Thirdly, in terms of Section 9(2) of Preferential Procurement Regulations, National Treasury is responsible for compliance with local content regulations and DTI is the department that designates minimum thresholds for local production and content.
Numsa is cognisant of the recommendations of the Public Protector for the National Treasury to investigate all Prasa contracts that are over R10-million from April 2012. As a union that organises in the rail rolling stock sector, we feel that it is not enough to investigate whether these contracts were consistent with Prasa’s supply chain management policies but whether the contracts are in compliance with Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) and its local content regulations.
Over the last few years, we have witnessed widespread disregard of local content regulations and large scale importation of products produced in other countries; decimating local industries and local jobs.
Numsa also wishes to salute all those transport workers who risked their jobs and opted to be whistleblowers. As a union, we are disgusted by the conduct of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) leadership which did everything in its power to cover for Prasa’s chief executive officer (CEO) Lucky Montana and his executive’s maladministration.
The fact that many of the workers who decided to take a stand on the matter find themselves outside of Satawu or were driven out of their union is symptomatic of how compromised the Satawu leadership is.
The leadership of Numsa will urgently meet with the leadership of the National Transport Movement (NTM) to explore how to work together on the second investigation that the Office of the Public Protector proposes and the action that Numsa intends to take about whether or not Prasa has complied with local content regulations.
Statement issued by Andrew Chirwa, NUMSA President, August 24 2015