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Forums picket over tender ‘exclusion’

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“We will give the municipality seven days to provide us with an answer.”

MEMBERS of various business forums picketed outside the Sol Plaatje Municipality yesterday morning to object to the “exclusion” of local businesses when it comes to municipal and government tenders, including the tender for the Diamonds and Dorings music festival.

Artisanal miners, who wish to be allocated land and mining permits, also joined the protest.

The interim chairperson of the business forums and artisanal miners, Desmond Mothobi, said they had not been given any indication yesterday whether the Diamonds and Dorings festival had been cancelled.

“We will give the municipality seven days to provide us with an answer.”

A memorandum was handed over to Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo, who promised to respond within the next seven days.

SMMEs belonging to the Northern Cape Progressive Forum, the Frances Baard Business Forum and the Sol Plaatje Business Forum, along with Batho Pele Mining and CCCFISA arts practitioners, in a petition, demanded the deployment of the local economic development (LED) manager.

“The restructuring of the LED requires inputs from a platform such as this, that will ensure that there is a watchdog who can measure key performance indicators. The budgeting process must be monitored to ensure that the system is not hijacked by anyone for their own gain. “

They complained that the structure did not make provision for bigger contracts to be broken up into smaller projects so as to benefit more local SMMEs.

“Sol Plaatje Municipality LED has a responsibility to make sure that all projects within its jurisdiction advance local economic growth and create economic incentives for investment.”

The forums were aggrieved that locally-owned black businesses were not given preference in the awarding of tenders for Sol Plaatje University projects.

“Companies appointed from outside the Province neglect the requirements of outsourcing 30 percent to subcontracting local businesses.”

Artisanal miners in the petition called for support to be provided for them with regards to energy and technology training, tourism support as well as beneficiation in the form of jewellery making, cutting and polishing, diamond valuation support and rehabilitation projects.