With regard to South Africa’s involvement in the upgrading of the Ahmed Baba

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 1134  

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 24 OF 3 AUGUST 2007

MR A J LEON (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS :

  • With regard to South Africa’s involvement in the upgrading of the Ahmed Baba Institute and the building of a new library equipped with the necessary technology to preserve the Timbuktu Manuscripts, what role is (a) her department and (b) the South African Embassy playing in this project
  • Whether a public tender process was followed before awarding the building contract to a certain company (name furnished); if not, why not; if so, (a) in which edition of the Government Tender Bulletin was the (i) tender advertised and (ii) successful tender announced, (b) how many tenders were received, (c) from whom were they received, (d) what amounts were tendered in each case, (e) what criteria were used to assess the capabilities of the company chosen for this tender, (f) who is the current project manager of this company and (g) what qualifications does this person possess;
  • Whether the said company met the relevant criteria; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
  • Whether, with reference to reports that the building does not meet quality standards, any (a) quality assessment has been done on the construction and (b) test of the soil has been conducted; if not, why not; if so, (i) what are the outcomes in each case and (ii) who is responsible for ensuring that the building materials meet quality standards;
  • Whether the progress made regarding this project so far is satisfactory; if not, (a) why not and (b) what action will be taken; if so, what are the relevant details?

REPLY:

(1) The role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to provide diplomatic support to the Presidential Project for its completion within the context of the agreement between South Africa and Mali. This Agreement provides for the following:

  • Conservation of Timbuktu manuscripts,
  • Proper housing of the Timbuktu manuscripts- availability of new archives/library and
  • Research and public awareness.

The role of the South African Embassy in Bamako is to assist the building team with logistical arrangements, as well as any other facilities that may be requested such as request for exoneration from Value Added Tax (VAT), when purchasing building material.

(2) As for questions 2-5, I request the Honourable Leon to refer the questions to the Minister in the Presidency, Dr Essop Pahad as he is the Minister charged with overseeing the implementation of the project.

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