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Former SAA head of Procurement defends her reason for communicating with JM Aviation
10 February 2020, 7:31 PM

Former head of procurement at South African Airways (SAA) technical, Nontsasa Memela has defended her reason for communicating with JM Aviation when the bidding process was still on-going. Memela is wrapping up her testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Monday.

The former Procurement Head is alleged to have provided JM Aviation, a local BEE company with bid documents and assisted them in getting a R1.2 billion contract with SAA technical.

Memela has denied all allegations labelled against her including bribery and wrongdoing in which she had been implicated by two witnesses last week.

She told Justice Zondo she did not see a conflict of interest when a bidding company paid R2.5 million towards the purchase of her property in Bedfordview. She has also denied she supplied bid documents to JM aviation so they could secure contract with SAA technical.

Memela says she was not aware there was a prohibition clause which excluded her from communicating with the bidder while the bidding process was open.

“So the answer is that you were not aware of this prohibition, your understanding is that there was nothing wrong with the communications with the bidder. My understanding is that there was nothing wrong cause I don’t seat in the evaluation committee and the only people that are allowed not to talk to the bidders because they have all the information are the people in the CFST the bid evaluation committee chair,” says Memela.

JM Aviation director Vuyo Ndzeku purchased land from Memela’s mother for R2.5 million, but the money was transferred to pay for a house in Bedfordview for Memela worth R3.8 million.

JM Aviation and its American-based partner AAR Corporation secured a R1.2-billion contract with SAAT to supply aircraft components in 2016. Memela said she did not see any conflict of interest when she sat in the committee that approved AAR and JM Aviation’s tender application despite having a cosy relationship with JM Aviation

“From where I was seating in my capacity of HOD there was no conflict of interest because I did not seat in the evaluation team or the people that were making decision to say I’m awarding this tender to you. It is my understanding chair for it is not taking a decision to award that.”

Memela explained to Justice Zondo that the South African Airways Technical division did not have a single black business supplier in 2013. She says she tried to transform SAAT data base but this got her into trouble. She told the commission SAAT did not have any BEE supplier on their data system and instead were using international and white owned local companies.

“When I took over procurement position there were no black owned companies the new that came after the workshops that we had they did not have knowledge in the aviation sector and all those sorts of things then I came up with a list of suppliers and I remember the first one was about eleven. out of three thousand on the data base and Ms Sambo was one of those suppliers that I opened doors for at SAT . It was not an easy journey.”

The former procurement Head also defended her reason for communicating with JM Aviation when the biding process was still on- going . She is alleged to have provided JM aviation-with bid documents and assisted them so they could score a R1.2 billion contract with SA technical to supply aircraft components, Memela says she was not aware there was a prohibition clause excluding her from communicating with the bidder while the bidding process was open

“So the answer is that you were not aware of this prohibition, your understanding is that there was nothing wrong with the communications with the bidder .. My understanding is that there was nothing wrong because I don’t seat in the evaluation committee and the only people that are allowed not to talk to the bidders, because they have all the information there are the people in the CFST the bid evaluation committee chair.”

The irregular disposal of ground power units (GPU) owned by the South African Airways Technical (SAAT) in 2016 was also questioned by the commission. During the same year 12 GPU’s were sold for less than their market value. Mamela denied that she had any role in the selling of the units. The commission will continue with Memela’s testimony. -Additional reporting by Amina Accram 

Cyril Ramaphosa
Political parties reject EFF’s plan to disrupt SONA
10 February 2020, 5:29 PM

Political parties in Parliament have condemned the threats made by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to disrupt this week’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday. They say the country cannot be held to ransom by one party.

The parties say they want to hear what President Cyril Ramaphosa has to say.

EFF leader, Julius Malema has vowed to disrupt President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech if Public Enterprise minister, Pravin Gordhan, is still in his position.  The party says that Gordhan had misled Ramaphosa about the state of affairs at Eskom.

“We are going to demand that Pravin must go and we are going to demand that in parliament and we are going to have mass actions on Pravin starting 13 February in parliament. When Cyril starts, we start. That’s how it’s going to roll, when he starts speaking we start also about Pravin going. We are not going to be hold here by Pravin. It must come to an end,” says Julius Malema.

Political parties in Parliament have condemned the threats.

FF+ Chief Whip Corne Mulder says “Parliament cannot be allowed itself to be blackmailed by irrational teenagers. Because as far as we are concerned, the EFF is desperate for attention. The Speaker must just implement rules and kick them out of the House if necessary.”

And these sentiments are echoed by other parties, like the DA, the ACDP, and the IFP.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has noted the threats, saying they will not engage in disruptive processes. The party says to respond appropriately to the SONA, they have to hear what it’s all about.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) also rejects the threat to disrupt, saying SA wants to hear solutions from President on poor state of economy, SOEs and crime rate. Questioning why EFF so besotted with Gordhan, ACDP is not perfect but has been bulwark against corruption and state capture maybe that is why he is targeted.

The Democratic Alliance says it regards SONA as very important, and where they can hold the President accountable. Everybody can have peaceful protest but no one has right to take away voice of 400 MPs as representatives of the people that is unacceptable, the DA added.

Meanwhile, the FW de Klerk Foundation is yet to respond to the swipe Malema took against former President de Klerk. Malema called on de Klerk to not attend Thursday’s event.

This year, the acting Sergeant at Arms, Tebelo Maleme, will be in the hot seat in the National Assembly, in the event of any disruption. The role of the Sergeant at Arms is a ceremonial one, responsible for maintaining order in the House.

 

 

Libya
AU commits to working with UN in solving Libyan conflict
10 February 2020, 4:25 PM

The African Union (AU) has committed to working closely with the United Nations (UN) in finding a solution to the Libyan conflict. AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smail Chergui told journalists at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on Monday that AU troops will be going to Tripoli to assist in the UN peacekeeping effort.

The AU is calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities between warring parties, the respect of an arms embargo against Libya, non-interference by external actors and a role in post-conflict reconstruction of the country.

The United Nations has been brokering talks between forces loyal to Libya’s internationally-recognised government in Tripoli and those led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Chergui says the AU can make a meaningful contribution.

“UN has been dealing with this matter since 8 years I think African Union can certainly contribute because this is an African problem and we have certain sensitivity that others may not have, secondly we want to recognise the role of African countries bordering the neighbours of Libya that can have a say but also a contribution I think at the end of the day what we want is to bring to an end immediately this crisis,” says Chergui.

Silencing the Guns

In his inaugural speech as African Union Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa committed to ensuring peace and security on the continent. South Africa will convene an extraordinary summit on Silencing the Guns and to assess the progress made to end conflicts in May this year. Ramaphosa said the conflicts in Libya and South Sudan are of pressing issues.

“We will work with President Denis Sassou Nguesso in his capacity as the Chairperson of the AU High Level Committee on Libya to convene an intra-Libyan conference to promote ceasefire and dialogue. We will continue to work with the parties in South Sudan with a view to implementing the outstanding issues of the revitalised agreement in order to pave the way for the government of national unity.”

Eskom
High Court dismisses Eskom’s bid to double tariffs
10 February 2020, 2:55 PM

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday rejected state-owned power utility Eskom’s application for urgent relief in a dispute with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) over its 2019-2022 tariff decision.

Last year, the power utility approached the court to have the 2019 decision by the Nersa, which approved increases of 8.10% and 5.22% for the two years set aside.

In papers before court, Eskom held that without these tariff increases it could default on payments to lenders, triggering the immediate payment of its national debt burden of R318 billion, guaranteed by the government.

Judge Jody Kollapen was not convinced that the matter is urgent.

Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of South Africa’s electricity, said Nersa’s decision should be set aside because it incorrectly treated R69 billion of state bailouts when calculating the amount of revenue Eskom should be allowed to recoup via tariffs.

Eskom said in a statement that, while the court dismissed the urgency of the application, it indicated that there was merit in its case.

During court proceedings, Eskom urged that the price of electricity is low, while Nersa believes it’s too high. Eskom maintained it needs Nersa to increase electricity tariffs so it can fulfill its operational obligations. But Nersa expressed electricity consumers won’t be able to afford the increase Eskom is asking for.

Additional reporting Reuters

Western Cape ANC open to discussing DA’s proposal to increase provincial seats
10 February 2020, 2:54 PM

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape legislature says it’s discussing the proposal to increase the number of seats in provincial legislatures.

Speaker Masizole Mnqasela of the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed the proposal which is currently at the level of the National Speakers Forum.

ANC leader in the provincial legislature, Cameron Dugmore says they will await talks on the matter.

“We have not agreed that there should be more seats in the Western legislature, we have agreed to engage in a discussion. We had a discussion in the interim provincial committee of the ANC in the Western Cape that we should discuss the proposals look at the pros and cons. We have to look at the cost of such a move, additional space required and look at alternative could be improving the research capacity in support of the existing MPLs.”

The Western Cape parliament has 42 seats.

The ruling DA has 24 seats, the ANC 12, the EFF 2 and the GOOD Party, ACDP,  FF-Plus and Al Jammah one seat each.

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