News in South Africa 14th October:

1. R17.4bn Sanral tender deadline moved:

The end-of-September target for awarding five tenders worth R17.4 billion cancelled by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) in May has been shifted to this month.

R17.4bn Sanral tender deadline moved
Image taken by: Nikolai Ulltang

Sanral GM for marketing and communications Vusi Mona confirmed to reporters on Thursday that the tenders are currently under adjudication.

“Once the adjudication is finalised, Sanral will publish the winning bidders on its website. The published details will include the details of the successful bidder and the award amount.

“It is anticipated that the adjudication will be completed this October,” said Mona.

“Once this is done and all the checks are complete, Sanral will make an announcement of the awards.”

Awards likely to exceed R17.4bn

Concerns were previously also expressed about the increase in bid prices that would be received for these five cancelled tenders.

Alli previously said an escalation in the price of the bids was a risk, unless some of the contractors who previously submitted bids were smart and tied their suppliers to a particular price, which would enable them to negotiate prices with their suppliers.

Safcec CEO Webster Mfebe said the new bids will definitely be higher because of changes in the steel price and the escalation in the price of construction materials caused by the impact of global supply chain issues.

Peregrine Capital executive chair David Fraser said on Thursday there is no doubt that these contracts will cost the country more now than if the initial bids had been awarded as they should have been.

Industry will ‘sit idle’ for close to nine months

Fraser said it is quite easy for Sanral to blame the contractors instead of themselves.

“We await the actual awarding of these contracts because all we are hearing is that the timelines are slipping. I would anticipate these dates to continue to roll out and I would only expect spades in the ground by the earliest, maybe even in quarter two next year, versus the expectation of September this year.

“It’s unfortunate that we sit with an industry that is going to sit idle for close to nine months as a result of this situation and where the country is going to be the only loser because we are going to end up paying more.

“My concern is not who these contracts go to. I just want these contracts out there and the wheels of the country to turn. I want people to have jobs, these roads to be built and Sanral to do its job,” said Fraser.

2. SA best internet in Africa:

South Africa’s internet quality remains the best in Africa, according to a new study by Surfshark, but its affordability ranking on a global scale has taken a knock.

South Africa is ranked 66th out of 117 countries profiled in Surfshark’s latest Digital Quality of Life (DQL) Index. The study looks at a country’s internet affordability and quality, electronic infrastructure, security, and how digitally advanced its government is.

South Africa has maintained its pole position on the continent with the top overall DQL score, followed closely by Mauritius and Morocco. It has the most affordable internet, calculated by how much time people have to work to afford the internet connection, and best quality in Africa.

And while these two heavily weighted factors have kept South Africa at the top, the country performs poorly when it comes to infrastructure and security.

In terms of electronic infrastructure, defined as how well-developed and inclusive a country’s digital technologies are, South Africa is ranked seventh on the continent, beaten by the likes of Kenya, Algeria, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

South Africa’s electronic security, measured according to how safe and protected people feel in a country when using the internet, is ranked fifth on the continent, one spot behind Zambia.

On the global charts, South Africa improved its spot in the overall DQL rankings by two positions from 2021, despite dropping in every category except for cybersecurity.

The drop in internet affordability was the steepest, with South Africa losing 13 places. Internet access in South Africa is only slightly more affordable than in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Finland. And although mobile internet access has become more affordable over the past year, the cost of broadband internet has risen substantially by global standards.

In 2021, it took less than two hours of work to afford the cheapest broadband internet. Now, South Africans need to work more than five hours to afford the same.

3. Expected fuel price increases:

Mid-month data published by the Central Energy Fund (CEF) shows that petrol and diesel prices in South Africa could be going up next month, following an early month shock for oil and continued pressure on the rand.

The data, which serves as a snapshot of market conditions as of 13 October 2022, shows that the petrol price could climb by 48 cents per litre in November. Diesel, meanwhile, shows a much larger under-recovery – thus potential increase of R1.57 per litre.

The mid-month snapshot is as follows:

  • Petrol 93: increase of 48 cents per litre;
  • Petrol 95: increase of 38 cents per litre;
  • Diesel 0.05%: increase of 154 cents per litre;
  • Diesel 0.005%: increase of 157 cents per litre;
  • Illuminating Paraffin: increase of 571 cents per litre.

The Department of Energy has stressed that the daily snapshots are not predictive and do not cover other potential changes like slate levy adjustments or retail margin changes, which are determined by the department at the end of the month, taking all variables into account.

The DoE makes adjustments based on a review of the entire period. Furthermore, the outlook can change significantly before month-end.

The expected price changes are contingent on current market conditions persisting through the end of the month.

4. PetroSA CEO paid to leave:

PetroSA’s CEO, Pragasen Naidoo, has been paid millions to go away.

The troubled state-owned oil company revealed it had made a loss of R1 billion in the financial year 2021/2022 during a parliamentary meeting with the committee on mineral resources and energy.

PetroSA Chairperson Nkululeko Poya confirmed that there was an agreement reached between the board and Naidoo, and that agreement did come with costs. Naidoo’s annual salary was in the region of R5.4 million.

5. Bain & Co. wants ban removed:

Bain & Company said it has nothing more to disclose to prove what it calls its innocence.

This comes as the company tries to clean up its image amid a ban to do business with the South African government.

National Treasury last month banned the management consultancy firm from obtaining government-related contracts after it was implicated in corruption involving the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

The state capture commission learned how Bain & Company acted unlawfully during former president Jacob Zuma’s tenure in a matter concerning the tax agency.

It emerged that the global consultancy firm was key in weakening units of South Africa’s revenue collector.

Both the Zondo commission and another inquiry headed by retired judge Robert Nugent recommended that the international firm be investigated by relevant law enforcement authorities.

The firm has appealed to the National Treasury to revoke the decade-long ban.

Bain & Company has already been banned from doing business with the UK government for three years.

The company’s managing partner in South Africa, Stephen York, said its own investigation found that there was no evidence of fraud or corruption on its part.

“We have got nothing to hide and from the investigations that we have done or [that were done] on our behalf, we have found no evidence of any illegal activity or any financial gain beyond the fees earned for the work which we have paid back. We have actively offered our full cooperation to any prosecution or investigative authority,” said York.

All information sourced from articles posted by: Moneyweb, Business Insider, BusinessTech, Fin24, and EWN.

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