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Pitch procedures saga: Transnet goes on offensive

State-owned Transnet Limited has rejected accusations levelled against it that it breached the Association for Communications and Advertising (ACA)'s guidelines by inviting nine advertising agencies to submit pitch proposals. Its spokesperson John Dludlu told yesterday, 27 May 2009, that the company acted in good faith and will continue to make appropriate decisions according to its procurement policy.
Pitch procedures saga: Transnet goes on offensive“The ACA's guidelines are exactly what they purport to be and not the law for the Medes and Persians. Therefore, there's no truth in suggestions that Transnet's public invitation for the submission of proposals by advertising agencies constitutes an illegality,” Dludlu said.

“For the record, Transnet's invitation was published for the benefit of industry players. No invitation was directed to the ACA or any industry players acting in concert with one another,” Dludlu pointed out.

Industry players call for boycott

Rob McLennan, of Network BBDO Johannesburg and chairman of the Creative Circle executive committee, last week slammed Transnet for flagrantly ignoring the ACA guidelines regarding pitch procedure by asking nine agencies to do a creative pitch in under just over a week's time.

Other industry players are also said to be furious about Transnet's ‘rebellious actions' and have called on the bidding parties to boycott the company's invitation and unequivocally condemn this behaviour for the best interests of the industry.

However, the worst part of the saga is that Transnet has declined to name the bidding parties!

A heated debate is going on right now in the corridors of advertising agencies, some of which have called on the ACA to severely ‘punish' the Carlton Centre-based parastatal.

“We all understand that pitches are necessary, but agencies get upset when the pitch procedures that the industry has determined by the ACA are blatantly and purposefully disregarded,” McLennan said.

Dludlu unfazed

“So at the last exco we discussed that if there was going to be a pitch that didn't conform to the ACA guidelines of no more than three agencies and a pitch fee, we would chat to each other and agree not to do a creative pitch.”

Dludlu was unfazed by agencies' outcry and ‘untruths', however, saying: “There's no truth in suggestions that agencies were requested to submit a pitch in just a week.

“To the contrary, a total of five weeks was provided to the participants for this purpose. In accordance with transparent and fair procurement processes applicable to us, we do not disclose our potential suppliers to third parties.”

But while Transnet continues to stand its ground, Dludlu said the company was aware of ACA's concerns and has engaged them thereon.

Collusive tendering?

“We have noted an email addressed to us by ACA purporting to withdraw, from participation in this procurement process, certain bidders it has referred to as its members.

“Transnet will not be party to any attempt that, on the face of it, suggests collusive tendering by some members of the industry. In accordance with our procurement policy, we will proceed with the process and make such decisions as we consider appropriate."

Odette Roper, CEO of ACA, told that her organisation will only comment after meeting with the warring parties. A meeting to discuss the crisis facing the advertising industry was due to take place on Monday and Tuesday.

Watch this space!

About Issa Sikiti da Silva

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to as a senior news writer.

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