Eskom supplier’s forum — Locals speak out

Ms. Karabo Serunye from MHPSA
Ms. Karabo Serunye from MHPSA

Leoni Kruger
LEPHALALE — Eskom’s suppliers’ Forum held a meeting on Thursday 3 November in the Indaba Lapa at Matimba.
The reason for the meeting was to inform and share business opportunities in Eskom and its subsidiary Eskom Rotek Industries (ERI). It also served as platform for businesses to market themselves and create networks. Information on Eskom’s tendering process was also shared.
Matimba Power Station Director Rhulani Mathebula said in his welcoming speech that everyone present has an important role to play and he expressed his hope that the Forum meeting will give everyone a better idea of the role that Eskom plays in the country.
“We require your services on a continued basis and if Eskom is successful, it means that you have served us well” he said.
He furthermore said that Eskom has the mandate to send as much electricity as they can to support the industries and households in South Africa and they require commitment from business partners to serve the country daily.
He highlighted that Eskom must receive quality service from contractors or business partners always, to continue the role they play. “No relationship can be taken for granted and any business relationship between Eskom and another party should include an understanding of our needs and the service we render. We have to ensure that South Africa’s lights stay on in future” he concluded.
Johan Prinsloo, Medupi Power Station Manager, explained his role in the generation side of Medupi. He said there are massive opportunities during the construction period and that they would prefer to support local services, but there are several rules to be followed. “Listen carefully today for the requirements in order to become one of our partners. We have very strict ethical and moral rules that we conduct in all we do and we will follow our procurement conduct. I prefer to have partners instead of contractors, because we are partners” he said.
Ms. Karabo Serunye from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa Pty (Ltd) (MHPSA) explained that MHPSA is the main contractor for Medupi and that they are involved in the supply, development, coordination, etc of the project.
She said that the total number of jobs created within MHPSA through the Medupi boiler works contract is 5 993 of which 1 909 are employed out of the local district, 372 are employees from Limpopo Province, 2 874 are South African citizens and 838 are foreign nationals.
During a question and answer session, the overall perception was that local people are not first in line to get employed and that small local black businesses are not even considered for employment.
Karabo said the bigger picture must be seen and that it depends on the kind of expertise needed in order to find the right company or employee. “We do try to employ companies that are 51% black owned or owned by women and 36 contractors are from here” she said.
She said the MHPSA small business hub in Lephalale was established to assist emerging small medium enterprises with challenges like funding, capacity operation and general business council but that loans are granted to legal entities only. To date the hub has distributed 48 loans valued at R15.5 million. It provided employment to 577 people.
Attendees were not convinced that locals are always considered when job opportunities arise. They also questioned the 36 local contractors.
Mr. Bongani Madlala from Eskom Rotek Industries (ERI) said that it should be kept in mind that certain expertise like engineers are not likely to be found in Lephalale, but their main object is to assist local people.

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