The Public Procurement Bill, which would have been presented to Cabinet next month for gazetting for public comment, will be slightly delayed to April owing to the recent changes in government, an Office of the Chief Procurement Officer representative told Engineering News Online on Wednesday.
The Bill was aimed at replacing and improving the revised public procurement regulations, which came into effect in April 2017 and would include small businesses and those operating in rural and township economies participating more effectively in public procurement.
“Public procurement – worth hundreds of billions of rands a year – is a critical lever to change the production and ownership patterns of the economy to empower black people, women and the youth,” the National Treasury highlighted in its Budget review statement.
Currently, about R800-billion a year is spent on procurement across all spheres of government and State-owned entities, besides the national fiscus.
The Bill further sought to consolidate all the fragmented pieces of procurement legislation in each governmental department, which would ease enforcement and accountability.
Treasury further said it would increase collaboration with all law enforcement agencies to strengthen efforts to fight fraud, corruption and abuse of supply chain management systems across all spheres of government to restore the chain’s integrity.
“In recent years, a large number of deviations from normal procurement processes has reduced the credibility of the supply chain management system. [These] can . . . result in anticompetitive practices that open the door to corruption . . . limit[ing] transformation by preventing small businesses from doing business with the State,” Treasury pointed out.
In future, deviations will be allowed only in rare, well-justified cases, it added.
Among some reforms, the Budget highlighted that State-owned entities, in particular Eskom, needed to adapt its business model to more efficient procurement arrangements.
Treasury would also review the standard for infrastructure procurement and delivery management to further enhance efficiencies in the system.