R10 a pencil: Tshwane metro overpays to benefit certain vendors

The metro placed an order for 1200 Staedtler Tradition HB pencils at R10 a pencil, when three of the same pencils could be bought at PicknPay for R14,99. (Gallo)

The metro placed an order for 1200 Staedtler Tradition HB pencils at R10 a pencil, when three of the same pencils could be bought at PicknPay for R14,99. (Gallo)

Orders on Tshwane's internal SAP computer system revealed that the metro's purchasing department was not paying anything close to market-related prices for stock, the Beeld said.

This despite Tshwane's mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa's recent undertaking during his budget speech to ensure that the metro focused on measures to give residents value for money.

In an internal memo, chief purchaser Silas Mashaba told buyers "not to worry about prices, but make sure there is stock", the newspaper reported.

On June 5, five 40mm galvanised pipes were ordered at a cost of R21 600, or R4 320 a pipe. The same pipe could be purchased for R439 at Plumblink in Garsfontein.

On June 18, the metro placed an order for 1 200 Staedtler Tradition HB pencils at R10 a pencil, when three of the same pencils could be bought at Pick n Pay for R14.99.

On June 14, the metro placed an order for 80 steel-handled garden spades at a cost of 250 each when similar spades could be bought at most hardware stores for between R130 and R140.

The names of the providers and their vendor numbers were known to Beeld.

Blatant preference
​An anonymous, senior official in the purchasing department reportedly said certain suppliers were blatantly given preference.

"The price at which stock is purchased, is just a side issue. The bigger issue is with whom the municipality does business."

Tshwane metro spokesperson Blessing Manale said purchasing departments usually considered the lowest price, but also looked at other factors such as reliable supply chains, products comparisons and quality.

He also said he could not confirm Mashaba's memo. – Sapa

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