The companies supplying the food parcels were mainly from Gauteng, instead of Limpopo, some businessowners allege.
A group of disgruntled businesspeople from the Mopani region of Limpopo have accused the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) of brushing them aside in the awarding of Covid-19 tenders for the distribution of food parcels during the lockdown period.
The disenchanted group claimed Sassa awarded the multimillion-rand lucrative tenders to companies owned by businesspeople from Gauteng, Waterberg, Sekhukhune, Vhembe and Peter Mokaba regions, leaving those from the Mopani region in the lurch.
The last straw was that most of the companies awarded the tenders apparently came from Gauteng.
Sassa Limpopo general manager Tsundzuka Rikhotso said the agency has one option for walk-ins where beneficiaries are given vouchers to be redeemed at shops contracted in the communities.
“I believe this is what the complaining service providers were appointed for. But we also have another one for bulk food parcels, mainly for disasters.
“This one is also an open, competitive bidding process where the tender is advertised and everyone applies. The contract expired end of November 2019. The new contract was advertised but cancelled because of the validity period which had expired. National Treasury approved a deviation for Sassa to conduct a closed bidding process.
“Quotations were requested from bidders that had passed functionality in that bid, appointments were made after receipt of quotations. The appointment of these service providers is for a period of three months ending in June 2020. It is only unfortunate that the ones complaining today could not make the list of those appointed,” said Rikhotso.
The disgruntled group told The Citizen they had hoped to also be appointed by Sassa to distribute the food parcels to the poor.
“We have a standing three-year contract with the agency with effect from 1 July 2017, to 30 June 2020. We have expected the agency to do things by the book and appoint us, more so because we are businesspeople from the province with a standing contract with the agency,” said Modubung-based businessman Billy Madlesa.
Tebogo Malatji, another businessman from Midinyeni, outside Kgapane in the Modjadjiskloof area, claimed most companies supplying the food parcels were mainly from Gauteng, instead of Limpopo.
Malatji said the awarding of the food parcel tender was supposed to help the local economy.
“But instead only people from outside the region are benefiting. I think there is more to it than meets the eye. We need to know how these companies get tenders and who are benefitting from them.”