Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Business organisation Sakeliga said on Tuesday it was taking legal action to challenge race-based pre-qualification for contractors at state-owned enterprises.

It said it would also request Eskom and the ministers of finance and public enterprises to suspend race-based pre-qualification requirements at the state power utility pending the outcome of its court case.

"Sakeliga’s decision to pursue the court case, challenging the legality of SOEs’ pre-emptive disqualification of contractors based on race, comes especially in light of the electricity crisis in South Africa," Sakeliga said in a statement.

The lobby group's CEO Piet le Roux said Eskom’s race-based disqualification of contractors was "unreasonably limiting the pool from which it could draw expertise".

"Today, businesses who are not 51 percent black-owned are frequently pre-emptively disqualified from even being considered for award of a tender," he said.

"By disqualifying contractors based on race, Eskom now precludes – at a critical time for the economy and society – electricity consumers in South Africa from the full range of cost-effective expertise available on the market."

Sakeliga said while it had lost its challenge last year against regulations in terms of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act promulgated in 2017, it had decided to appeal the case.

African News Agency (ANA)