Sunday, January 29, 2023

Locals want end to BMC’s preference of SA companies

The newly appointed Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) chief executive officer, David Tsheboeng, is expected to give local companies preferential treatment over foreign ones in the supply chain.

This after allegations that millions of Pula have found their way to South African refrigeration transport companies to the detriment of locals.

Sunday Standard understands that for some time, South African companies have dominated the BMC supply chain department using refrigerated trucks over local companies. Some local companies accuse the BMC management of corruption.

Sunday Standard has seen documents detailing schedule of rates and prices for chilled and frozen products.

Citizen companies are paid P23, 531.00 for trips taken from Lobatse to Cape Town which can be translated into P100 000 for five loads per week whilst South African companies are paid ZAR 38,535.42 per load. Sources claim that only one company –  Crystal Cool –  benefits handsomely whilst local ones do not.

Sunday Standard has also seen documents relating to a tender (No.136/03/2013) for Refrigeration Transport awarded in 2013/2014 to Crystal Cool, Aspen Logistics (RSA based companies). A 100% citizen-owned company’s share of the contract was 20%. Sources further reveal that the first contract was for 2 years. In 2015, the contract was extended to 2017 and this was one of the tenders under Dr Tombale’s leadership where locals benefited but after that none.

This publication understands that in 2018, events changed and the BMC floated the same tender again. Citizen-owned companies participated but the tender was never awarded.

Sunday Standard has also seen documents relating to tender No 205/02/2018: Provision of Refrigerated Transport Services which local companies decried of because it never materialized despite citizen companies participating on it.

Citizen companies believe the tender was deliberately not awarded and used as an excuse by the BMC to loot. The BMC had issued an invitation to tender (ITT), addendum which was issued on the 21/03/2018.

Documents passed to Sunday Standard indicate that few companies if not one company, benefited from a transporting from Lobatse(BMC) to Cape Town and this alone has caused a concern in most of local companies.

Sources reveal that corrupt practices crept at the BMC since the departure of Dr Tombale. They seek the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) to be called on board to stop the looting.

“It is false and malicious to say local companies does not have the capacity to do the same as SA companies,” said sources

When responding to The Telegraph questions, the BMC Corporate Communications officer, Mokoko Gaboutloeloe, said local companies are faced with transport challenges from Lobatse to Cape Town and to other parts of South Africa.

He said the BMC is presently serviced by Crystal Cool Logistix (XINERGISTIX) and Aspen Logistics for refrigerated truck services for products going to Cape Town from its abattoirs in Botswana. This arrangement started through a contract that elapsed in 2017. The two companies were supporting BMC Francistown and BMC Lobatse. 

“In the 2018 tender, BMC, in its drive to enlist and develop local suppliers, had offered 40% of the entire contract for local companies/transporters – however the quota/share was not able to attract targeted suppliers – citing pricing concerns and capacity challenges.  

Gaboutloeloe said the companies that end up providing services, provide competitive prices, and are mostly South African based. It could be that they charge for a one-way freight as they are able to collect deliveries from South Africa and deliver within South Africa, whereas Botswana companies are prohibited from doing so (in South Africa).  

Crystal Cool has not yet responded to our inquiry.

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