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Breaking corrupt Arab-Asian monopoly in mega tenders

Some of us will never buy into the arrogance of the Middle Eastern-Asian monopoly and their coterie of rented elite blacks in the mega tenders sector.

Fine, if you are okay with it, but don’t try and lie to us. These Middle-Eastern and Far East players are so spoilt by corruption that they mistake our development budget for a birthright. I only partially blame them. 

They have been led into that thinking by our irredeemably corrupt ruling class. I was gravely incensed last year when they breached the sacred floor of Parliament to frustrate efforts to ensure Batswana have drinking water and to edge a worthy competitor from the sector. That they did it in conspiracy with Batswana was though disgusting, by no means surprising.

We have been in this rot for some time now. What I do realise, is that few Batswana know that ruling class looters of note who they chant slogans for are busy stealing their children’s futures. That is perhaps the single biggest reason why I am yet to choose a political party to support.  I have, by reason of my job, come to know a lot about ruling class corruption and how it has festered. There are skeletons everywhere. 

We are unable to freely talk about it all because the information generally falls within the realm of client-attorney confidentiality. I can recall instances though, where on client’s instructions, we have shared information with law enforcement in order to deal with the scourge. It is time we wake up to this reality or the mafia style stranglehold these companies and their ruling class friends have on our development budget may, in time be impossible to dislodge.

Have you ever wondered where all those South African and European companies that used to make good roads and flawless infrastructure on time and within budget have gone? They were edged out by briefcase Asian and Arab tenderpreneurs who are responsible for all the shoddy jobs you see.

I am talking about the variety that forgets to use brick-force in building classroom walls. These are characters who finish projects more than six years after schedule but are never taken to task on their failures. Because they have perfected cheating, they build their cases right from the day the site is handed over to them. They write numerous complaint letters blaming government for contractual lapses in anticipation of their own defaults and create excuses for extensions and non-performance.

Inexperienced or corrupt desk officers in government fail either out of incompetence or on purpose, to deal decisively with the barrage of accusations, creating a correspondence trail that is eventually used as evidence. Government eventually pays for their failures.

Yet, these corrupt outfits are always winning, and despite all the talk that

they will be blacklisted, they are not. Some even have the temerity to sue government. Batswana should know that the government’s mega tender procurement sector is a cesspool of corruption. It is a rot at a king-size scale. This campaign of rapine must stop.

Yes, the Masisi administration is failing to deal with this problem, chiefly because it always acts out of emotion and is unashamedly pursuing a campaign of selective justice. As a result, it is making schoolboy errors at every turn. Make no mistake about it, the administration surely does have credible intelligence on what is wrong. What they lack is the temperament for calm and decisive action.

They are obsessed with drama and useless PR campaign to be seen to be doing something. It is no wonder that they are always losing in the Courts. They write stupid correspondence that lands then in legal trouble. The Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) should have the capacity to fix this sector without government having to play into the hands of these deep-seated established interests through unnecessary litigation. DIS operatives who go through so much risk and sweat to uncover corruption must be gravely frustrated seeing all their efforts blown up sky high by a poverty of strategic thinking.

Of course some defender of the status quo will say I am being xenophobic. Not that I really care. I have no use of some rented black opinions about me. I know who I am. Yes, there are capacities that local companies are surely lacking and it will be a while before we have local companies at the scale of Murray and Roberts. 

But such capacity can only be built in a fair and level playing field. Mega tender corruption will stifle the growth of black-owned companies and they will forever be quarantined within the P10 million reservation freshly announced by government. Government’s intention must be to ensure that in time, black-owned companies have a fair shot at competing in the mega tenders sector. So long as institutionalised corruption is the order of the day in this sector, that will never happen. Batswana will never compete.

Don’t tell me about the amount of work these mainly Arab and Asian companies are contractually required to subcontract to local companies. I have done arbitrations in that regard and I know that emerging, young Batswana companies are badly exploited by these fraudster companies. We need to rid this sector of all corruption and to ensure that the Arab and Asian thugs who rule it compete on equal footing with other players.

Chief On Friday



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