MP for Maun West, Dumelang Saleshando moved swiftly last week to block a tender for the supply of face masks to primary schools in the area after it was awarded to a foreign company by North West District Council (NWDC) management.
Saleshando, who is the Leader of Opposition in Parliament revealed to this publication that a group of local tailors in Maun approached him complaining that NWDC had awarded a tender to supply masks in primary schools to a foreign company (name withheld) after the said company donated some masks to the council. The infuriated tailors, who always supply NWDC with school uniform for students in Maun, were shocked and disappointed when they learnt that a foreign company had been engaged to supply face masks when schools reopen next week.
Saleshando said after receiving the complaints he investigated the matter and found out that it was true that management of NWDC had engaged a foreign company. He then approached the council management demanding cancellation of the deal, which contravenes the spirit of citizen economic empowerment emphasised by government for provision of goods and services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The NWDC has since obliged and reversed the decision.
Saleshando said he is disappointed to learn that NWDC overlooked capable Batswana in the district who can manufacture and supply masks. He encouraged the council to always engage small medium business in the district to supply them with face masks in schools. “What is important now is that the tender will now be awarded to Batswana,” he said.
The NWDC Council Secretary, Motlogelwa Thuso confirmed that the leader of opposition approached the council complaining about the awarding of the tender. He said the matter was at the sub district of Maun Administrative Authority MAA. “The issue is being attended to,” said Thuso.
The chairman of MAA, Vepaune Moreti, said he was shocked to learn that the administrative leadership, who are his subordinates, had awarded a tender to a foreign company while there are many Batswana who can do the same job. He, however, said the mistake has been rectified and the council will engage local tailors to supply them with face masks. Moreti said the council always engages local tailors to supply them with school uniforms. “We always have beneficiaries we engage to supply us with school uniform. It would be embarassing now for a council to buy masks from a foreign company,” he said, adding that a mask is something that anyone can produce and therefore it can be awarded to a foreign company.