Of BEE and tenders
As a black youth I am in favour of a policy directed at levelling the playing field in some way or form. Black Economic Empowerment, Affirmative Action, Quotas, the allocation of tenders to an emerging black middle class and gender equality policies.
Please understand, apartheid and all its ills have done us all an injustice. Its not fair that you my fellow white brother/sister should bear the brunt of the actions of your grandparents and in all fairness I have had good exposure, or at least a good proportion of us black youth. A good number of us have seen the inside of a lecture hall, are employed and helping our families financially and through other means. I have never experienced extreme racism except the strange stairs that greet me when I walk into a Woermann Brock or the Maerua SuperSpar. Its nothing I can’t deal with except that its a good dose of ignorance on the other party. Its really funny come to think of it. That’s not the purpose of this opinion piece though.
We can all agree that policies like BEE, and AA are put in place with the best of intentions. I would certainly not like to get a job merely on the colour of my skin but because I genuinely deserve to get it on merit. I do have my fair share of self respect thank you very much. I also wouldn’t like to get that tender because of my business, and political affiliations, it should be on the basis of my competence.
The recent allocation of horse mackerel quotas however raises an unbearable stench. Much too much has played itself out in the past and it will repeat itself. Case in point being the awarding of a tender towards the value of a few hundred million for the mass housing project, the recipient being the daughter of the president, most probably the same lass who together with a politically select and elect few were given bursaries to study in China a few years back. Remember that sad saga? How do you get a tender to construct hundreds of houses if you have never carried a brick in your life, even oddly, how the hell do you award someone far less competent then you.
Quoting the minister of fisheries, Hon. Bernard Esau recently in a supplement carried in an English daily, the rationale behind a decision to award South African fishing companies horse mackerel was because of arrogance, and the fact that they employ many expatriates. Then you ask yourself, are these companies not managed by Namibians, is one of these companies not listed on the stock exchange with a significant shareholding held by the Government Institutions Pension Fund which in turn would manage his pension, he is after all a civil servant even before he is a minister and politician.
Then you draw parallels to a tender awarded to the president’s daughter with regards to the mass house project. How long has she been around to successfully carry out a project of that magnitude? She might not need an engineering degree and may well argue that hers is a company that has the necessary human capital and thus in a position to construct mass houses, or that she is in a prime position to ensure the government gets its full money’s worth because she is in a dubious joint venture with a Chinese firm and is thus able to submit the lowest tender.
How about the fact that a businessman will openly admit to wine and dining the incumbent president without any shame. The same business personality who was only too happy to appear on the front page of every daily openly declaring that he chartered the presidential jet for a soccer match. How many presidential jets do you know of that serve such purposes. I mean, does this not put him in a favourable position to gain undeservedly should cabinet implement questionable business reforms apparently aimed at spurring local participation in the business arena. I weep for my beloved country.