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On Tuesday, 30 June Corruption Watch (CW) made a submission to the draft Public Procurement Bill in response to National Treasury’s gazetted call for comments. The organisation has received over 30 000 reports alleging corruption since it launched in 2012. Of these reports, 9% relate to corruption in procurement, particularly in local and provincial government departments.

Section 217 of the Constitution holds out the guarantee that public procurement is a powerful instrument that can be used to address the inequalities in our society, and demands a system that is “fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective”. CW calls on the government to uphold the Constitution by addressing the gaps in public procurement.

Public procurement is vastly significant to South Africa’s pursuit for sustainability, inclusive growth and the attainment of social justice. However, it is a system which is particularly proneto corruption as we have seen in various national departments, state owned enterprises, and provincial and local government, with massive irregular expenditure linked to corruption procurement practices.

Accordingly, CW’s submission centred on governance, accountability and transparency.

CW raised concerns on the oversight role of the newly proposed Public Procurement Regulator as well as the failure to include the qualifications and an appointment process for the Head of the Regulator. Addressing these issues will ensure adequate independence. It also contends that the Bill must provide clear guidance on the status of the instructions issued by national and provincial treasuries, as well as publication and accessibility requirements around procurementinformation taking place.

CW also stated that the Bill falls short in creating regulatory framework that would foster transparency in the procurement of goods and services, and highlighted the great importance of transparency as recognised by the Constitution.

Along with other civil society organisations, notably the Public Affairs Research Institute, CW has written to National Treasury to express its concerns with the draft legislation, and has implored government to deepen its consultations with civil society in order to ensure that the needed reforms to the public procurement system are adequately addressed in a democratic and constitutionally compliance manner.

Click here to access the submission.

For more information:

Phemelo Khaas                 083 763 3472