OPINION

Minister Davis should dismiss SABS Board and CEO – Dean Macpherson

DA MP says damning report shows that certification body might have abetted Gupta corruption

DA calls on Minister Davis to dismiss SABS Board and CEO over damning DTI “Gupta report"

13 June 2018

The DA calls for Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, to exercise his authority in terms of the SABS Act to dismiss the South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS) Board and the Chief Executive Officer, Boni Mehlomakulu, with immediate effect and place the entity under administration.

This after the DA highlighted in March this year, serious governance issues and allegations of corruption within the SABS. To date, the Minister has failed to act decisively.

Today, a damning report (see here) by the  Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that the standards certification body may have aided and abated Gupta corruption by issuing fraudulent certificates on coal sourced from Gupta owned Tegeta mine.

The report reveals clear evidence of serious misconduct by SABS in the issuing of unauthorised and defective test certificates to enable the procurement of non-compliant coal from Tegeta by Eskom.

By its own admission, SABS informed the DTI in writing that the test report on the coal from the Gupta Brankfontein mine was irregular and in breach of protocols. According to Director Gerneal, Lionel October in a written memo, when National Treasury attempted to investigate the Gupta coal test reports, how the SABS CEO and Board acted in a 'dishonest and hostile' manner by impeding the investigation through deliberate concealment of information.

SABS wilfully participated in industrial espionage on a grand scale by allowing Tegeta to deliberately flout its rules of procedure on the standardisation process so that coal from the Brakfontein mine could be given a clean bill of health despite evidence to the contrary.

Of major concern is that the testing of the coal from Brakfontein was extremely irregular with the samples given to the SABS rather than independently sourced to verify that they came from the mine.

Job creation for the 9.5 million unemployed South Africans will only be possible if small businesses are able to grow through enhanced market access. However, this will not happen if SABS continues to be compromised that renders it incapable of standardising products for market access.

It has become urgent, now more than ever, that Minister Davies heeds the DA’s repeated calls to institute a turnaround strategy at SABS in order to restore institutional integrity.

Minister Davies cannot continue to bury his head in the sand over this mounting evidence of impropriety by the SABS Executives and Board. The board and CEO are not fit for purpose and must be removed as a matter of urgency.

Issued by Dean Macpherson, DA Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, 13 June 2018