Suppliers not properly registered or not registered at all on National Treasury’s Central Supplier Database (CSD) have been blamed for the breakdown in delivery of wet rations to at least three SA Army units.
It appears those tasked with ensuring sufficient food was available for troops at 2, 4 and 21 SA Infantry Battalions did either not know about the CSD or were unaware of it being operational since the beginning of April this year. Prior to that the CSD was in a transitional phase and both suppliers and prospective suppliers were urged to self-register with National Treasury through www.csd.gov.za.
The shortage of rations saw soldiers at the Mpumalanga and North West bases instructed to go home, the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) said after it had taken up cudgels on behalf of the hungry troops by way of a lawyer’s letter.
The letter stated, among others, that SANDF members could not comply with the go home instruction because they “do not have the financial means to travel long distances to their homes at this time of the month and are now stuck in their respective bases, without rations”.
The letter, written on behalf of Sandu by Jacques van der Merwe Attorneys, points out the SANDF is legally obligated to provide living-in members with daily rations and “the SANDF’s failure to provide same is unlawful”.
It was addressed to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke; Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube, and the officers commanding 2, 4 and 21 SAI Battalions.
The military trade union’s instruction that it would take the matter to the High Court was not needed as rations were delivered to the affected bases during the course of the day and soldiers were said to be eating again.
“The SANDF experienced low levels of rations at three units,” Colonel Ronald Maseko of Defence Corporate Communication said.
“The affected units were 2, 4 and 21 SA Infantry Battalions and not as first reported 2 and 4 [and 10] SA Infantry Battalions. They experienced low levels of rations which were timeously resolved,” he said adding 21 SA Infantry Battalion was “addressing the situation to replenish wet rations to required levels”.
“The shortage was the result of the introduction of the e-procure system by National Treasury aimed at regulating supply chain management in Government.
“The new procurement system requires all suppliers be centrally registered on National Treasury`s database. This re-registration has led, in some instances, to some suppliers being unable to deliver or supply the SANDF according to the tender contract regulations due to the fact that their details, as per new regulations, were incomplete on the system,” Maseko said.