26 February 2014

South Africa: Chief Procurement Office Makes Progress

Photo: South African Govt
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presenting budget speech.

Progress has been made by the Chief Procurement Office, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.

Delivering the 2014 Budget Speech in Parliament, Minister Gordhan said that since the establishment of the office, progress has been made on several fronts, including the development of a standard lease agreement, to address defects in government property transactions.

In his 2012 budget, the minister announced that National Treasury for the first time appointed a chief procurement office in a quest to fight tender corruption across departments.

The office, said the minister, has also made progress in the standardisation of infrastructure procurement processes and documentation as well as the creation of an inspectorate to monitor procurement processes and audit tender documents.

Progress also included enhanced processing of vendors' tax clearance certificates to ensure compliance; centralised procurement of health equipment, drugs and medicines to effect savings, and analysis of the business interests of government employees.

"We are also mindful of the importance of government procurement in supporting local industry and black economic development. This requires a database of South African products and black-owned businesses so that the system can foster economic empowerment and dynamically contribute to growth," he explained.

Additionally, tougher measures are being considered to enforce the rule that small businesses in particular must be paid within 30 days.

In his sixth State of the Nation Address earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma said that in order to prevent corruption in the supply chain system in government, a central tender board to adjudicate tenders in all spheres of government, was being established.

"This body will work with the chief procurement officer whose main function will be to check on pricing and adherence to procedures as well as fairness," said President Zuma.

In a subsequent interview with the national broadcaster, the SABC, the President said that centralising government's tender system will go a long way in rooting out corruption in the public service.

- SAnews.gov.za

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