Meat traders want tender probed

Meat traders want tender probed

MASERU-THE Meat Traders Association Lesotho (MTAL) wants the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to investigate how a South African company won the tender to supply meat to the army.
The association says it has already filed a complaint with the DCEO.

The DCEO spokesperson, ’Matlhokomelo Senoko, could neither deny nor confirm that they are investigating the matter.
“It is just a matter of principle now,” Senoko said.
The association says it believes tender procedures were violated when El Torro Meat Company was awarded the multimillion tender.  

“We have never seen this tender advertised so that we could bid for it,” says Teboho Motšepe, the association’s secretary general.  
“We had a legitimate expectation that the tender would be advertised when the contract of the previous suppliers ended.”
El Torro Meat Company is supplying Grade A beef, beef sausages and mincemeat.

Motšepe says the association’s members should have been given first preference to submit bids because they have the capacity.
“And it is only the Grade A that they do not have in the country. But we could import it from South Africa to satisfy the local market,” he says.
He says they complained to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela who referred them to the Ministry of Defence, saying the military is just a consumer that has nothing to do with the tender process.

The association then approached the ministry whose principal secretary is yet to respond to their queries.
Motšepe says the association is unhappy that abattoirs and wholesalers are allowed to sell meat to government institutions and the public.
This, he says, means butcheries are being crowded out of the retail market.
He insists that they want the tender to be advertised so that they could come to bid for that tender.

Motšepe says if they win the tender, they will support Meraka Abattoir and other meat wholesalers in the country.
The principal secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Kabelo Lehora, said he could not comment because the contract was awarded before he was appointed.

Lehora said since his appointment he had received several concerns about tenders in the ministry.
He said his predecessor, Tankiso Phapano, and his tender panel could shed light on how the meat tender was handled.
Phapano could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered.

Majara Molupe

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