Numsa urges govt to procure from locals

2012-11-01 16:20

Johannesburg - The government should drive economic growth by procuring from local manufacturers instead of importing goods, Numsa said on Thursday.

"We have manufacturing capacity in this country and we believe that aggressive economic stimulation is important to fight poverty and unemployment," said the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

It was reacting to reports that a consortium led by a Chinese manufacturer had been announced as the successful bidder to supply 95 dual-electric locomotives to Transnet.

The parastatal would reportedly procure 1 064 locomotives through a R300bn investment capital programme.

The programme formed part of government's R4 trillion infrastructure roll-out plan led by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission.

Numsa secretary general Irvin Jim said the Chinese company had been chosen over a local manufacturer which designed and manufactured locomotives and coaches.

"We will not let this matter just go away. We are going to ensure that at least 60% of that investment is spent locally."

The awarding of the contract to a foreign company undermined the government's procurement plans and would harm the economy, leading to job losses, he said.

"The failure of [Finance Minister] Pravin Gordhan to pronounce on this scandalous behaviour, which may lead to job losses, is unforgivable."

Jim accused Gordhan trying to please international rating agencies with his 2012 medium-term budget.

"Gordhan's budget is at pains to assure the agencies that government will cut spending, despite the glaring social crisis we face," he said.

Gordhan had spent most of his time arguing that South Africa was financially sound and that it was wrong for the rating agencies to downgrade the country.

"We find this characterisation of the country by Gordhan thoroughly worker insensitive and horribly wrong."

Jim said Gordhan's budget failed to address the demands of the working class.

"We were expecting the budget to focus on announcing measures that would clearly show that the ANC, at 100 years, can and is responding to the multi-layered crisis our economy and society faces."

He accused the Treasury of having become the centre of power in the country.

"The presidency takes its cue from the Treasury regarding what is best for the country."

The budget was weak on issues of procurement and local production, despite the Treasury's plan to implement rigorous procurement reforms, Jim said.

  • tumisang.kolobe - 2012-11-01 16:28

    In agreement why import when the locals can produce same quality?Jim is correct, we need to spend the money locally.

      exile13 - 2012-11-01 17:39

      The problem is that Local cannot produce the same quality. cause and effect: labour in SA is becoming increasingly costly and ineffective.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-11-01 17:11

    and a month after they start they'll be on strike and we'll get the trains 2-3 years late.

  • Ayanda - 2012-11-01 17:51

    This gov try 2 please the chinese

  • elmer.lourens - 2012-11-01 19:08

    This is a Africa plague,the governments want you to get things done locally,but the incompetence exceeds the actual skills levels and therefore it is financially more viable in the long run to have it done by labour intensive countries where people actually work because just outside the door there is a million people even more competant.

  • mtshengu.guysmall - 2012-11-02 05:33

    This is the ANC for you ,when the country is faced with massive unemployment they do this!sisegxakini apha kurhulumente,where are we going ?if one can tell me,because the government constently tells us about their intiatives of creating employment and the difficult of that,now that opportunity has presented itself they run to china !when is this preamedited and well calculated colonialisation of our economy by china will end.comrade Jim keep up the good work !metalworkers and sober working class is behind you.this is NUMSA moment!

  • Hans Senior - 2012-11-05 06:30

    good luck with the chinese locomotives. namibia loves the chinese, we have numerous chinese locomotives and they are pretty much useless, with spare parts and maintenance being a problem, some models also lack power, and suffer with the temperatures here, seems our climate too hot for them

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