The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has suspended its chief financial officer (CFO), Inge Mulder, and head of supply chain management, Inba Thumbiran, amid ongoing conflicts between management and the board over procurement policy.
- The board, under Themba Mhambi’s leadership, has made radical changes to Sanral’s procurement policies, including a recent change to preferential procurement rules.
- Two construction firms have taken legal action against Sanral in an attempt to have the new procurement rules overturned.
- The previous scoring system used the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scorecard to determine the number of points a firm could earn for empowerment. Under the new system, the weighting of black ownership and subcontracting has increased.
- Construction firm Haw & Inglis (H&I) secured an interdict to prevent Sanral from awarding tenders under the new scoring system. H&I and another construction company, WBHO, are seeking to have the rules set aside, claiming that they were introduced without consultation and are unconstitutional and irrational.
- Sanral argues that it has the authority to change the weighting of the scoresheet and that the list in the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act is not a closed list.
- The dispute between Sanral and the construction firms highlights the ongoing tensions surrounding procurement policies in South Africa. National Treasury has submitted a new Public Procurement Bill to Parliament, which aims to revise the preferential procurement system and allow for designated groups and local subcontracting.