Wednesday, September 23, 2020

“Chicanery at CTO auctions”

Mr. Editor, let me express my gratitude to some of the efforts HE, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama continues to make to improve the lives of Batswana.
However, some of these initiatives are not implemented as expected by the relevant implementing institutions and this renders them ineffective.

As HE rightly pointed out in his State of the Nation Address on page 16 when he said “Mr. Speaker the success of all these programmes projects and initiatives will require effective monitoring and evaluation to allow us to track progress and redirect our plans as appropriate,” the government should do that and start by evaluating and reviewing the process of auctioning government vehicles by CTO. The recently conducted auctions leave much to be desired.

And this is contrary to what HE has directed to be done.

It is a fact that there are short, medium and long term benefits to all proposed government programmes, projects and initiative.
Some might not even achieve their set objectives, but it is imperative to hasten to review them with the view to redirecting them quickly when the public express concerns about them.

The purpose of writing to you Mr. Editor is to give feedback and draw the attention of HE and, indeed, CTO General Manager, to the streamlined process of auctions involving boarded vehicles which are supposed to be reserved for citizens and 100% citizen-owned companies. The recent government auctions were the first under the new arrangement and against all expectations they are still subjected to unfair and corrupt practices which need to be looked at and rectified for these auctions to achieve their objectives. Let me pose three questions which might assist in highlighting my concerns on this issue:
Is it the government’s intention to make substantial profit from these auctions or the intention is to dispose the boarded vehicle and recoup at least the salvage values as represented by the reserve price?

Is the government aware that these vehicles/equipment are mainly bought by companies (mainly Indian in partnership with CTO officials) for resale to Batswana?

Is the CTO General Manager aware that all the boarded vehicles/equipment are stripped of crucial parts and therefore miss a lot of these parts at the time they are auctioned?

If the answer to the first question is yes, then government, through CTO, is doing a very good job and, in the process, impoverishing Batswana and, if no, then the auctions should be run concurrently throughout the country to avoid stampedes during the auctions.

Given the demand for these vehicles, even if the auctions are held simultaneously, all the vehicles are guaranteed to be sold against their reserved prices. These prices are as a result of all people converging at one auction at a time, creating stiff competition amongst bidders. This is really a problem for most Batswana who are pinning their hopes on these auctions to purchase affordable used government cars, despite being stripped of some parts, especially in Gaborone.

The government should endeavour to sell these vehicles at affordable prices such that bidders can reserve funds for necessary repairs or for new parts.
The second question relates to the new condition which states that: “Each citizen or 100% citizen-owned company will be allowed to purchase a maximum of two auction vehicles at a time (per auction sale per circle)”. There are still loopholes as most Batswana Indian motor garages still circumvent these conditions by buying two cars for the company as stipulated and each and every director of the same company will each buy two cars. As you are aware most of these companies have many directors (as well as directorships in various related companies) and they do not only stop there but will also use their employees to front for them. And since these employees and their directors are citizens, they can immediately transfer ownership of the vehicles and put them in the showrooms of their garages for resale to Batswana. Just go to Mogoditshane or Tlokweng to appreciate what I am talking about.

The other problem that needs to be addressed is that of stealing parts from the boarded vehicles. We understand this is an inside job by CTO mechanics who later sell these parts to ultimate buyers of the vehicles. During the auctions CTO officials guide their friends to the vehicles they should bid for and avoid the ones with missing parts or seriously damaged.

In conclusion, and having highlighted the above, Mr. Editor, there are still some serious problems associated with these auctions and hence the need for Lt. Colonel Mosienyane, CTO General Manager to quickly review the auction process and seriously engage his staff in terms of how they manage these auctions. The following should be seriously considered:
-To inform the public about the objectives of auctioning government board vehicles.

-The transfer of vehicles’ ownership from citizens to citizens should be reviewed and made 36 months such that cars are purchased to be owned or used and not for resale.

-CTO should produce the status report of each boarded vehicle or equipment prior to the auction, stating their problems and indicating all their missing parts. This information will assist potential buyers to know exactly what is being purchased and the work needed to repair or fix these vehicles.

-These auctions should be run concurrently or at least half of them should be held simultaneously. This will not only reduce stampedes and high prices but also empower Batswana as other auctioneers will also be contracted by CTO to conduct the auctions rather than just engaging Graham Phillip in all of them.
-The government should split the auctions between individuals who mostly want to purchase one item and companies who want to buy many for resale

Thank you

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