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Paramount Group acquires Nautic Africa


www.defenceweb.com

Written by Dean Wingrin, Friday, 08 November 2013

Paramount Group, Africa’s largest privately owned defence and aerospace company, has acquired a majority stake in Cape Town-based specialist ship building company Nautic Africa.

Nautic Africa, started by CEO James Fisher, was established in 2008 and is a provider of speciality high-speed, ballistic protected aluminium patrol vessels, mainly to the military, Coast Guard and oil and gas communities.

Whilst the Paramount Group has its roots in the land forces environment, it recently moved into the aerospace sector with the acquisition of ATE (Advanced Technology and Engineering, now Paramount Advanced Technologies) early this year.

Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, noted his company had been looking to move into the maritime arena and that starting from scratch was not viable. “The acquisition of Nautic Africa,” Ichikowitz explained, “is the last piece of the puzzle to supply customers with complete solutions in the maritime environment.”

Ichikowitz observed that one of the biggest threats facing Africa is not coming from the land or the air, but from the sea in the form of piracy, theft of marine resources and drug trafficking.

The deal to acquire Nautic Africa was put together in early 2013, but the formal announcement was only made at a ceremony at the Nautic Africa facility in Table Bay Harbour on Thursday. Fisher will retain a significant minority interest in the company. It is envisaged Nautic’s current workforce of 100 will double to 200 by 2015.

The acquisition, Ichikowitz said, will combine Paramount’s global market reach and strong track record in Africa with the engineering and design skills of Nautic Africa. This, he continued, will stimulate global demand for Africa’s naval solutions.

Fisher noted that Paramount would bring strength to Nautic Africa. “It brings us pedigree, they will assist in growing to the next step,” said.

Importantly, the ship builder will be able to leverage off Paramount to strengthen their systems and administrative support, as well as gaining access to markets they could not easily access before.

Nautic Africa recently concluded an R600 million deal to build seven 35 metre multi-role patrol vessels for West African clients and is actively working on new orders. The acquisition will further create jobs in the maritime industry as well as the general defence and systems industry.

Due to the growth of the company, Nautic Africa is not only looking to expand its dockyard and ship building facilities in Table Bay Harbour, but may also create a new facility at Saldanha Bay.

The South African Navy (SAN) has expressed a desire for a strong local maritime industry and Fisher is interested in pursuing relationships with the SAN. In order to grow its capabilities, Nautic Africa have partnered with DCNS of France for Project Biro, the acquisition of Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV). Austal of Australia has also expressed interest in partnering with the Cape company.

Besides the actual building of vessels, Nautic Africa is also looking to growing its leasing business.

As a result of the acquisition, a two brand strategy has been implemented. The Nautic Africa brand will continue to be used for commercial activities, whilst military markets will use the new Paramount Naval Systems brand.

South Africa: now making, assembling 50% of taxis


SouthAfrica.Info

19 March 2013

South Africa has made significant progress in localizing the manufacture and assembly of minibus taxis, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on the weekend.

“Some 12 months ago, none of the taxis on our roads were assembled in South Africa. Today about 50 percent of all taxis that are purchased are made or assembled here in South Africa, and we’re moving towards the target of localizing two-thirds of assembly in the taxi industry by 2015.”

The government is leading a campaign to promote the local procurement of supplies across all industries in order to boost the economy’s capacity to create jobs.

Patel said the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) had been mandated to develop a national localization strategy to guide all spheres of government.

He said the labour-absorbing capacity of local manufacturing industries had to be boosted to stimulate job creation and economic growth, adding that a strong local manufacturing sector would have a positive impact on South Africa’s balance of payments.

“We are working in partnership with a major manufacturer, Toyota, who has expanded the factory in eThekwini, as well as a partnership with the IDC and a Chinese manufacturer called the Beijing Automotive Works that has started a factory in Gauteng.

These companies had already employed 220 people to assemble taxis locally, with the number set to increase significantly by 2015, Patel said.

In October 2011, the government, business, labour and community-based organisations signed a Local Procurement Accord committing the parties to work together to increase local procurement as part of South Africa’s plans to create five- million jobs over the next decade.

And in December, the government put the buying power of the state firmly behind local manufacturers, with new amendments to the the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act allowing the government to name sectors and products that require a minimum level of local content to qualify for state procurement.

Bus manufacturing was among the first batch of sectors designated for local procurement under the amended law, resulting in the local sourcing of 80 percent of all inputs and supplies in the manufacturing of bus bodies for the rapid public transport systems in Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Other products designated in the first batch included power pylons, rolling stock, TV set-top boxes, clothing, canned vegetables, footwear and leather products.

In January, the Department of Trade and Industry announced a second batch of designated products, namely electrical valves, manual and pneumatic actuators, electrical and telecommunication cables, and components of solar water heaters.

Comments on ANC taken out of context – Arms Procurement Commission


William Baloyi – Willie Seriti
15 March 2013
William Baloyi defends Chairperson Willie Seriti’s letter, says evidence and allegations not the same thing.

Arms Procurement Commission : Media Statement

The Commission has noted with concern the perception raised in a number of newspaper articles of the weekend of the 9th to 10th March 2013 and the immediately following days that this Commission does not intend, or seems to avoid, interrogating the allegations of corruption, fraud and other wrongdoing against the African National Congress (ANC), its officials, members and other people associated with it.

The perception or assertion arises from a letter dated 26 February 2013 that the Commission’s Chairperson had addressed to attorneys Abrahams Kiewits Incorporated of Cape Town in response to a demand that they made on behalf of their client, Mr Terry Crawford Browne, that we should summons the ANC and its officials to appear before the Commission to answer allegations against them and to produce certain documents (see below).

As is now the standard modus operandi of Mr Terry Crawford-Browne and his attorneys, correspondence exchanged between them and the Commission is routinely released to the media. No wonder that the letter in question is now in the public domain.

The demand to summons the ANC is a typical example of another unfortunate experience that the Commission has had in its interaction with Mr Terry Crawford-Browne and his attorneys, namely, the persistent attempt to prescribe to the Commission how to conduct its work, in particular, whom to call to appear before it and at what stage. We shall revert to the latter aspect in due course.

We are of the view that the statement that the Commission was not aware of the “evidence implicating the ANC” has been read out of context and blown out of proportion. Evidence and allegations are not the same thing. The Commission is fully aware of the various allegations levelled against some officials and the members of the ANC and other people associated with it.

These allegations form part of the on-going investigations that the Commission is busy with. In this regard, there is a tendency for some people, including, unfortunately, some media practitioners and commentators to elevate allegations to the status of evidence even before they have been tested in an appropriate forum. The fact is that even if there is evidence in the public domain implicating some people it still has to be tested for veracity and credibility before conclusions can be drawn.

We point out that the Commission is in possession of massive documentation containing information implicating many people and entities in the subject matter of our investigations. The public must understand that before the information is properly interrogated in the upcoming public hearings the Commission cannot be party to any exercise to canvass it in the public domain and bandy around the names of those implicated.

We have a duty to safeguard the information placed at our disposal and not to divulge it prematurely. Nor can we disclose the identities of the people implicated before they are given the opportunity to answer for themselves.

The principles of natural justice demand that we be fair to both the complainants and the suspects. For this reason, the witnesses who are given access to the documents in our possession cannot be allowed to divulge the information gained before the issues are ventilated in the public hearings.

The media statement that we issued on the 24th November 2012 wherein we announced the intention to commence with the public hearings on the 4th March 2013 was accompanied by a list of the witnesses to be called in the first phase of the public hearings.

We explained that most of these witnesses were selected based on their roles in exposing the allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package. It may be recalled that the list include people who have written extensively on the subject and seem to have extensive knowledge of what transpired. It was imperative to fully canvass their evidence to lay the ground work for the subsequent hearings.

We made it clear then that it is in the subsequent phases that key people who were involved in the acquisition process as well as those who are implicated in allegations of wrongdoing will be called. This is how we planned to conduct the public hearings and that programme has not changed.

It is, however, not cast in stone and may be altered if circumstances demand it. But the decision as to whom to summons at what stage and which documents to call for falls within the exclusive discretion of the Commission and we will not be dictated to in this regard.

It is apposite at this stage to refer to paragraph 1.5. of the Terms of Reference:

“Whether any person/s, within and/or outside the Government of South Africa, improperly influenced the award or conclusion of any of the contracts awarded and concluded in the SDPP procurement process and, if so:

1.5.1 whether legal proceedings should be instituted against such persons, and the nature of such   legal proceedings ….”

This is clearly one of the issues we must probe and to suggest that we will not investigate people involved in the government of South Africa is rather mischievous.

Finally, we have released a media statement explaining why the public hearings that were to start on the 4th March 2013 had to be postponed to the 5thAugust 2013 to run until the end of November 2013.

A revised programme of action and a schedule of witnesses to be called, the dates on which each will appear as well as the venue of the hearings will be released to the public timeously before the 5th August 2013. We trust that everybody, including the media, will give this Commission the space to focus on the preparations for those upcoming hearings and complete its investigations.

Statement issued by Mr William Baloyi, Spokesperson: Arms Procurement Commission, March 15 2013

Text of Judge Willie Seriti’s letter to Abrahams Kiewitz Attorneys:

Arms Procurement Commission

Private Bag X02
The Tramshed
South Africa
Pretona
0126
Tel: 012 358 3999
Fax: 012 358 3969
Email: admin@armscomm.org.za

Abrahams Kiewitz Incorporated

For attention: Mr Charles Abrahams

Dear Mr Abrahams

1. Your letter dated 25 February 2013 has reference.

2. Currently, no evidence implicating the African National Congress has been brought to the attention of the Commission. Should such evidence come to light, the Commission will deal with the matter as it deems appropriate.

3. The Commission wishes to express its irritation with the persistent allegation by your client and yourselves that evidence leaders are kept in silos, implying that certain information is withheld from some ofthem. No evidence leader is kept in the dark about the activities of the Commission. We hope that this allegation will not be repeated. The incessant attempts to tell the Commission what to do should come to an end.

Yours sincerely

ARMS PROCUREMENT COMMISSION

Seriti JA JUDGE LW SERITI
Chairperson of the Commission

Gauteng Civil Society Marches for Nuclear – Free South Africa


AllAfrica.com

November 12, 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Thousands of people from civil society groups across Gauteng today took part in a march to protest against South Africa’s nuclear expansion plans. The activists marched from Pieter Roos Park to Beyers Naude Square, where they handed over a memorandum to the Presidency. Smaller protests and placard demonstrations happened simultaneously in Durban, Cape Town and Bantamsklip.

Members of Earthlife Africa, Greenpeace Africa, Justice and Peace, and Ceasefire formed the alliance with the purpose to raise concerns about the cost of the new build project, the safety of nuclear power and the lack of transparency and accountability in the nuclear sector.

According to Earthlife Africa’s Makoma Lekalakala “The country’s new nuclear build is estimated to be at least R1 trillion in public funds. The cost for the nuclear infrastructure build will ultimately be passed down to South Africans which means we are heading for devastating poverty amongst millions of already impoverished South Africans”

Since Fukushima, several countries around the world have moved away from nuclear energy. While the world sees nuclear as dangerous and unsafe, the South African government approved a nuclear expansion plan barely a month after the Fukushima disaster and has remained adamant that this is the best option for the country.

“Government has refused to listen to the people. They can ignore a few but they cannot ignore thousands. It is irresponsible for the South African government to want to expose their people to the threats of nuclear contamination as we recently witnessed in Fukushima” said Greenpeace Africa’s climate and energy campaigner Ferrial Adam.

There has been little public information on the procurement and tender processes. The Department of Energy is set to make the largest state expenditure in South Africa’s history. At the moment, the Department’s procurement of energy, especially with the procurement of renewable energy in the REBID process, has been opaque at best.

Civil Society will be watching the nuclear energy procurement process very closely. The nuclear industry has often functioned under a veil of secrecy. We have the right to know and we will demand that the procurement processes are open and transparent. The era of secret deals like the arms deal must come to an end” added Adam.

“Ultimately we want the government to heed our call for just energy solutions. Nuclear energy is not the answer,” concluded Lekalakala.

South Africa: Procurement of VIP planes canceled


News24.com

July 6th, 2012

Cape Town – Announcing the cancellation of R2bn jet deal for President Jacob Zuma, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there is a need for VIP planes and a new procurement process can be expected.

The proposed purchase of a new Boeing 777 jet for President Jacob Zuma will not go ahead, Mapisa-Nqakula said on Friday.

She told reporters in Pretoria the procurement process was cancelled after the offer to purchase lapsed on June 15.

A $10m (about R82m) deposit would be returned in full, the minister added.

The ministry confirmed that there was also an offer from Airbus but that this lapsed two weeks later, on June 30.

“I have since met with the companies approached to submit proposals for the procurement of VVIP aircraft, including Boeing, and I have informed them that the current process has been cancelled.”

The minister said a new procurement process could be expected in the future because there was a need for VIP planes.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the process involving Boeing was being probed by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

She declined to say whether the regular procurement requirements had been followed, pending the outcome of that investigation.

– SAPA

South Africa: Zille hails tender finding


IOL News

By SAPA

June 1st, 2012

Western Cape premier Helen Zille on Friday welcomed the Public Protector‘s finding that there was no evidence of unlawfulness in her government awarding a branding contract to agency TBWA.

“The report shows, above all, that the entire exercise was a storm in a teacup stirred up by our political opponents,” she told reporters in Cape Town.

“The entire affair was a waste of the Public Protector’s time and cost the South African taxpayer hundreds of thousands of rand at least, that could have been better spent on service delivery.”

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela announced on Friday that she made four findings of maladministration but none of unlawfulness, which meant she would not recommend that the contract was invalid or should be cancelled.

Zille said the report found no corruption and political involvement, interference or manipulation in the procurement process. She was also not personally involved in the process.

She said it was found that the presence of two special advisers on the tender bid evaluation committee had made no difference to the outcome of the evaluation.

Madonsela found that some administrative processes in managing transversal tenders, those which involved various government departments and strict Treasury regulations, were faulty.

Zille said the provincial treasury had picked up these faults long beforehand and steps were taken to rectify them.

Madonsela was asked by, among others, the ANC in the Western Cape to investigate whether the department of the provincial premier had employed proper demand side management regarding procurement of the contract.

She had to find out whether failure to do so had resulted in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, whether the department had kept proper records of proceedings of the bid evaluation committee, and whether the appointment of two special advisers to the committee which awarded the contract was legal. – Sapa

Patel outlines new ‘integrity pact’ to screen firms for big-project deals


AScommercialPopNews

February 16, 2012

As the state ramps up its infrastructure spend, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has insisted on ‘value for money.’

Emboldened by a broadly positive response to infrastructure plans outlined by President Jacob Zuma last week, the government appears to be trying to use the contracts likely to be involved to further bend business and the unions to its “developmental” agenda and its view of how business and labour under a state-led mixed economy should behave.

Yesterday Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said companies wishing to win contracts from the government’s infrastructure development programme would need to sign an “integrity pact” committing them to ethical behaviour, including noncollusion with competitors and competitive pricing.

President Jacob Zuma last week announced an expansion of Transnet’s infrastructure programme to R300bn over seven years. Added to existing plans — which in last year’s budget reached R809bn over three years — and new ones likely to be announced in next week’s budget, the government’s infrastructure spend is set to top R1-trillion.

But, having been burned by cost escalations in previous infrastructure programmes — particularly in the construction of Soccer World Cup stadiums in 2010 — Mr Patel says the government wanted to make sure this time it got “value for money”.

Investigations by the Competition Commission have uncovered “clear and compelling evidence of high levels of collusion ( with public-sector tenders) in construction, which has driven up costs”, Mr Patel told the Cape Town Press Club yesterday.

Speaking in the state of the nation debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Patel said the government would guard against price collusion, corruption and unnecessary industrial action on infrastructure projects.

Our experience in the past showed high levels of collusion between contractors that drove up prices. We faced avoidable industrial action on some of the projects,” he said.

Mr Patel said the government was in discussion with business and organised labour “to address the need for competitive pricing, firm action against public and private sector corruption and co-operative industrial relations”.

In his remarks at the Press Club yesterday, he said he was under no illusion that such a pact would be sufficient to deter anticompetitive behaviour. The Competition Commission would “focus very strongly on the infrastructure programme”, and build on the “very substantial work” done in investigating collusion among construction firms.

The commission is investigating 65 bid-rigging cases in the construction sector with an estimated value of R29 bn.

Mr Patel said since the commission had altered its corporate leniency policy in 2007, awarding parties that are first to come clean, “the risks for private companies in colluding had got much higher”.

He said “clear consequences” would have to apply where contractors failed to deliver. In the inquiry, leniency was granted to Group Five and applications for leniency were made by Murray & Roberts and Grinaker-LTA.

In his state of the nation speech last week Mr Zuma said government procurement processes were being cleaned up by a multi-agency working group led by the Treasury.

This included a review of “the entire system” and “the vetting of supply chain personnel in all … departments”.

How Corruption may Hamper Peacebuilding – the Case of South Sudan


ISS

By Shireen Mukadam, researcher

Governance and corruption division, ISS Cape Town

February 9, 2012

On January 16th South Sudan’s Parliament met to discuss the Auditor General’s announcement that $1.3 billion was unaccounted for during the 2005-2006 budget period of the then Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan under the transitional government. This comes in the midst of a flurry of anti-corruption initiatives sweeping the country in the past few months. In November last year, President Salva Kiir appointed senior judge Justice John Gatwhich Lul as chair of the national Anti-Corruption Commission. Established in 2006 and viewed by many as toothless, this body gained prosecutory powers through the 2011 Transitional Constitution. These events raise important questions about the nexus between corruption and peacebuilding. What have we learnt from African post- conflict states about how corruption affects peacebuilding efforts?

The nexus between corruption and peacebuilding is characterised by the tension between the short and long-term impacts of corruption. Some functionalists argue that certain forms of ‘illegal’ channelling of state funds may have positive consequences in the aftermath of conflict. In the short term some would argue that  this could help bring about stability, by sustaining networks of patronage and ‘buying’ spoilers to participate in the peace process. Both the need and opportunity for corrupt practices can increase following conflict, arguably as the case of Burundi shows. Certain financial ‘rewards’ also have the potential to play an incentivising role in peace negotiations. However, the difficulty in embracing this rationale arises when one considers the longer-term implications of these kinds of practices. Is stability and peace sought after, at any cost?…While this article has only scratched the surface of the corruption-peacebuilding nexus, it sheds light on the need to pay more attention to how the synergy between the anti-corruption and peacebuilding discourses can contribute towards preventing corruption, thereby enabling sustainable peace in post- conflict countries. A good start would be to consider a corruption-sensitive approach to peacebuilding…Read more.

South Africa: Union says Prasa boss went off the rails


Mail&Guardian

By Charles Molele

February 10, 2012

Lucky Montana, the group chief executive of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), has been accused of tender irregularities amounting to more than R1-billion and organising an unauthorised trip to Cape Town for his friends and associates. 

The damning allegations against Montana are contained in a dossier seen by the Mail & Guardian, which was compiled by the South African Trade and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu).

Although it has not been proved that Montana has committed any wrongdoing, the union has demanded that he be suspended pending an independent forensic investigation because it believes he might interfere with an internal investigation.

According to the dossier, Montana allegedly went on a joyride to Cape Town with 10 female companions in September 2009 on a Premier Classe train and returned to Johannesburg by air. The trip is said to have cost R170 000.

Montana is also alleged to have awarded Siemens an R800-million tender in 2009 for passenger communication systems that was advertised only in Gauteng but awarded nationally. The dossier further alleges that he awarded another R800-million contract to Rainbow Construction for Doornfontein station in Johannesburg, but it was extended to other stations without following proper tender processes.

The union claims Montana also awarded celebrity consultant Ezra Ndwandwe R10-million as a change management consultant without following procurement policies. Ndwandwe said on Thursday there was nothing untoward in his remuneration and that he had delivered on his mandate…Read more.

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