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Give local preference for food parcel tender – Forum

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Service providers were urged not to be driven by profits when it came to the emergency food relief programme.

WITH the Department of Social Development intending to launch its emergency food relief programme to offset the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable communities, the Frances Baard Business Forum has called for preference to be given to local businesses when the R38 million tender is awarded. 

Tenders must be submitted by 11am on Wednesday (April 1).

A briefing session was held on Tuesday, where service providers expressed concern that at R800 per food parcel they would not be able to cover their costs including transport and distribution of the parcels to outlying areas of the Northern Cape.  

Frances Baard Business Forum secretary Noor Mahomed stated that local small businesses had to be empowered, as they had the capacity to deliver. 

“We question why big companies are forever being awarded tenders,” said Mahomed.

He also pointed out that if the country did not manage to flatten the curve of the pandemic, government would have to make provision for more food parcels.  

“We encourage local small, medium and micro enterprises throughout the Province to monitor the procurement of the supply of these food parcels, as it will boost the local economy.” 

The spokesperson for the Frances Baard Business Forum, Lesego Maris, urged that the food relief programme be broken up into smaller tenders to enable small businesses in the districts to also benefit. 

“We appreciate the commitment given by the Department of Social Development to give preference to businesses owned by youths, women and the disabled. 

“We requested the department to be transparent throughout the procurement process and inform us which companies were shortlisted and appointed.” 

Maris advised service providers not to be driven by profits when it came to the emergency food relief programme.

“This is not a normal situation and business must play its role. They must not inflate their prices or take advantage of a humanitarian crisis. Service providers should make use of locally-based transporters for the distribution of food parcels.” 

He stated that the food parcels would include basic foodstuffs including maize meal, bread, rice, cooking oil, peanut butter, jam, washing powder, soap, toothpaste, bleach and toilet paper.  

Northern Cape Department of Social Development spokesperson Gamiem Abrahams said that R38 million had been allocated for the procurement of 47 700 food parcels, in response to the state of disaster, to provide basic foodstuffs to people in distress.

“In order to be fair and transparent an invitation was extended to all business people to afford everyone an equal opportunity to tender,” Abrahams.

“Preference will be given to local businesses with the capacity to deliver, as per the request by Frances Baard Business Forum.” 

Abrahams explained that the costing of R800 per food parcel made room for a ‘reasonable mark-up’.

“Quotes were only requested locally and a complete list of items that need to be packaged in the food parcel with bid documents were given to each person present. 

“All goods will be delivered in Kimberley. All bids must be submitted by Wednesday.” 

He stated that delivery would begin a week after all bid processes were concluded. 

“Delivery will also depend on availability.

“All prescripts of the lockdown will be followed and food distribution will be done in a responsible manner after beneficiaries have been assessed.”