New shadow falls over R800m fisheries contract
SCORES of companies whom investment group Sekunjalo claimed to shareholders would have benefited from it winning an R800m state marine tender say they know nothing of their association with the bid.
The revelations cast a new shadow over the botched R800m tender by the national Agriculure, Forestry and Fisheries department and which is now the subject of an official inquiry.
The Sekunjalo Group, headed by empowerment personality, Dr Iqbal Survé, initially won the tender, but following a storm of publicity and a court bid launched by the incumbent service provider, Smit Amandla Marine, the tender award was revoked.
Sekunjalo’s bid included Nkiruka Investments as a BEE partner with a 20 percent stake in the deal. In its pitch to the tender committee considering the deal Sekunjalo heavily emphasised Nkiruka’s involvement and the fact that dozens of other small black businesses would be included in the deal.
Nkiruka is owned by Cherie Hendricks, a director and company secretary of Sekunjalo and a prominent business partner of Survé.
Listen, I had no contact with them. I’m so white, you can paint with me.” – businessman which supposedly formed part of the Sekhunjalo bid
Sekunjalo has repeatedly and publicly claimed that these other small businesses were the real losers when the tender award was reversed although the identities of these companies were not disclosed in the tender process.
“The Sekunjalo bid was structured as a consortium between certain of its subsidiaries, KND Naval Design, and thirty black-owned SMMEs, through which the Consortium demonstrated its strong commitment to the transformation of the marine engineering service industry in the Western Cape,” said Sekunjalo in a Stock Exchange News Service release in March.
Pressed to disclose the identities of these “victims” Hendricks provided a list of 31 names to Media24 Investigations and we attempted to contact all those listed. Of those which could be traced almost all had no idea they were supposed to benefit from the Sekunjalo bid.
Two companies now say they will consider legal action because their names were listed without their knowledge.
Damian Michael of Alvarita, one of the companies named, said his company’s inclusion on the list smacked of it being a “front effort”.
Maneli Samuel, chairman of Imvusa Trading, another company listed, said he had no idea why his name was on Hendricks’ list. He said he would consider legal action.
Christopher Claassen, MD of Secure Choice Security Services, said: “I was not aware that my name is on the list and I do not know Cherie Hendricks.”
Saaid Solomons of Electrical Solomons said: “I know nothing of my involvement.”
Nada Murray of Wayhami Facilities Management first erupted with laughter and later asked indignantly: “How can they do that? I do not apply for any government tenders, because how can you expect any work from the state with a surname like Murray?”
A person listed as a representative of a cleaning group and who asked not to be named when contacted by M24i, said: “Listen, I had no contact with them. I’m so white, you can paint with me.”
One entity on the list who confirmed having had extensive discussions with Sekunjalo about the tender was the Western Cape Black Business Chamber of Khayelitsha.
Three chamber officials told M24i they were told prior to the announcement in November that they would be included as participatants in the tender award.
Sizwe Ngqame, the chamber’s communications manager, said the chamber had identified 450 small businesses to participate in the tender.
He said the chamber would send a letter to Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson asking that the tender be re-issued so that small black businesses in the Western Cape could benefit from it.
Asked to explain why so many of those on her list knew nothing of their inclusion, Hendricks asked why CM24i was still “examining the tender issues since the contract has been withdrawn and the consortium is no longer applicable?”
Hendricks said: “We are now going to put this tender behind us.”
She said as Sekunjalo company secretary she had been the nominee for Nkirura which was in turn responsible for including the SMMEs in the bid.
“The SMME’s would be included after the tender award as part of an vigorous selection process and the SMME’s were not named in tender submissions. The SMME involvement was voluntarily done,” she said.
“Whilst aspects of the process may in retrospect not appear to be perfect, the intention was to empower and provide jobs to Western Cape SMMEs. All SMME’s were to the best of our knowledge consulted,” she said.