[The following speech was delivered in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament by Minister Albert Fritz on Thursday 4 September 2014, during a House Debate on “tenderpreneurship”.]
Honourable Madam Speaker,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I must admit I am astounded at the irony of who raised this topic for debate. Indeed the irony of today’s debate is lost on the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who need not look far to find tenderpreneurs than in their very party leader.
Madame Speaker, as this debate progresses, I think both the EFF and ANC will find their seats feeling a lot hotter. After-all the truth burns!
However, I will share more on that later.
A tenderpreneur is a portmanteau of “tendering” and “entrepreneur”, and describes a person within or outside government who abuses their political power and/or influence to secure government tenders and contracts.
The promulgation of the initially narrowly defined Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003, saw the unintended consequence of already influential and/or well-connected individuals of colour leap-frog to the front of the economic queue, as the law mandated companies to apportion 26% of their share-holding to Previously Disadvantaged Individuals.
The policy also called for preferential procurement practices from both big business and government, aimed at giving small black business a hand-up and foot in the economic life of the country.
Now, both these initiatives as a policy direction for redress are laudable, however as with most things with the ANC (and those who now call the EFF home), they are spoilt to suit crooked cadres. We in the DA have always held that we need a BEE which creates jobs and opportunity for all previously disadvantaged people, and not just a few millionaires.
The rise of crooked cadres and fighters unable to explain their wealth has left a trail of economic destruction. Legitimate entrepreneurs are locked out of the economy due to limited opportunities, and equally, poor people receive poor service delivery due to tenderpreneurs.
In both instances, people’s liberty to pursue opportunity and their prosperity are limited.
Madame Speaker, one of the most common views you’ll hear, especially amongst enterprising youth, is how they feel shut out of opportunities, as they may not be politically-connected.
Things are no better on the preferential procurement side either. The lived experience of many legitimate entrepreneurs across the country is that municipalities, provincial and national government departments and parastatals under the ANC, readily give out tenders and contracts to politicians, their families and friends.
We see constantly in our media alarming cases of politicians and their family members amassing huge amounts of wealth, primarily through dealings with the state.
One need not look further than the Zuma family, who are seemingly benefiting greatly from state business and preferential treatment either in government jobs, mining licenses, and/or tenders.
Another example are the Mpisane’s in Durban who have become very wealthy people…odd though that their riches seem to stem exclusively from mega-tenders dubiously given to them by the ANC-run City of Durban.
The EFF are no better. Their leader, Julius Malema, a former ANCYL Leader, is cut from the very same ANC cloth which he derides today.
He is facing serious charges of fraud and racketeering through dubious state contracts in Limpopo to his businesses, siphoned into his Ratanang Trust. Perhaps the Honourable Paulsen can tell us here today what part of nationalization that is exactly?
It is truly astounding that the ANC and the EFF will try sit here and try paint a false image of themselves to the public of the Western Cape.
Real entrepreneurs are people like Herman Mashaba - the founder of the hugely successful Black Like Me brand. They innovate, enterprise, and take risk. These are people who should be role models, not Malema et al.
Poor Service Delivery
Madame Speaker, the tell-tale sign of a tenderpreneur is terrible service delivery and shoddy work on the projects they are given.
Sadly, I need not look very far in this regard. The contract awarded dubiously, as the courts found, by the national Department of Social Development to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) for social grant payouts on behalf of SASSA, is a prime example.
The administration of social grants by CPS and SASSA has been a disaster, with grant recipients – mostly the elderly, approaching our provincial department for help from the abuse, even though I as Minister have no executive authority over SASSA and the CPS.
Madame Speaker, the point I’m driving home is that tenderprenuers deliver poor services, and it is the poor who suffer the most, regardless of this these tenderprenuers and rent-seekers are guaranteed government business by crooked cadres.
Speaker, this DA-led Western Cape Government has committed itself in meaningful ways to cutting this sort of corruption, which kills jobs. We have put in place many corruption busting initiatives, which cut red-tape, ensure sound financial governance, and see us deliver more services and opportunity to the people of the Western Cape. My colleague, MEC Alan Winde, will speak more on these in detail.
Thus the Honourable Member from the EFF needs to look within his party to his leader, and to the ANC Members on his immediate right if he really wants to tackle issues of corruption. Lead by example.
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Developement
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 076 083 6543
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za