The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
Mr. Chairperson, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for affording me the opportunity to address you on this very
important subject. Personally, I would be very glad if there was no
need for a conference of this nature. This can, however, only be
achieved when we eliminate all forms of corruption by achieving a
change of mindset of all human beings. Every person on this globe must
view it as a principle of living that it is totally unacceptable to be
dishonest. We are, however, dealing with human beings and it is
accepted that as long as we are dealing with human beings, we have to
be aware of the possibility of corruption and therefore have to put
measures in place to counter and discourage corruption.
South Africa is the only country in the world where procurement is
prescribed in the Constitution. Section 217 of our Constitution reads
- When an organ of state in the national, provincial or local
sphere of government, or any other institution Identified in national
legislation, contracts for goods or services, it must do so in
accordance with a system which is fair, equitable, transparent,
competitive and cost effective.
- Subsection (1) does not prevent the organs of state or
institutions referred to in that subsection from implementing a
procurement policy providing for-
- categories of preference in the allocation of contracts; and
- the protection and advancement of persons, or categories of
persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.
- National legislation must prescribe a framework within which the
policy referred to in subsection (2) may be implemented."
The words " fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost
effective", when seen from a public sector procurement point of view,
can be summarised in the statement that our public sector procurement
system must be administered in all honesty.
As an estimated amount of some R64 billion per annum of the tax payers
money is expended by the Government for the procurement of goods and
services, our democratically elected Government is committed to good
governance and to socio-economic reform in South Africa to ensure a
better quality of life for all the residents of our country, inter
alia through the procurement system. Good governance includes good
financial governance. To ensure good financial management regarding
public sector procurement, the following principles have to be
- There shall be strict financial control.
- The public sector will do everything possible to counter corruption.
- No person / organisation who has not fulfilled his / her tax
obligation or has not made the necessary arrangement to meet his / her
obligations in this regard, will do business with the public sector.
This measure is in place at central level.
- Procurement of all goods and services shall reflect value for
- Government will ensure uniformity within the public sector
- The public sector procurement system will be utilised as one of
the tools to achieve the upliftment of the historical disadvantaged
individuals and for the continuous development of the small, medium
and micro enterprises.
The question arises how, with all these choice words enshrined in our
Constitution and stating what principles we are maintaining, are we
putting into practice what we are preaching. In this regard I can
inform you of the following measures which are in place or are in
process of being implemented in order to counter corruption in public
- When specifications are compiled for general period
contracts, specification meetings are convened and inputs are obtained
from all participating consumer departments. In some instances
potential suppliers are also invited to attend and participate at
these meetings. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that
specifications are not bias towards specific suppliers, products or
- All tenders advertised by national government departments are
advertised in the Government Tender Bulletin. This bulletin is also
available on the internet under NSTBIPWVIGOV.ZAS. You are welcome to
subscribe to the Government Tender Bulletin. This weekly magazine is
available from the Government Printer at a subsidised rate of R 34,20
(±$5,70) per annum for inland subscribers and R40,00 (±$6,67) per
annum for foreign subscribers. The address from where you can order
this bulletin is as follows:
Government Printing Works
Private Bag X85
Tel.: 27-12 -
- The evaluation, criteria for the evaluation of tenders must,
where possible, form part of the tender documents. This promotes
transparency as tenders are informed in advance how their tenders will
- The National State Tender Board is compiled from representatives
from National Government departments, supplier organisations and
organised labour. The officials form 70% of the membership, while
three members each represent the two remaining parties. According to
the comments received, the presence of persons from outside the
Government on the tender boards gives credibility to the tendering
- When tender committees, under delegated authority, award tenders,
the committees are compiled from senior officials who are not directly
involved in the evaluation of the relevant tenders.
- Tender authorities making decisions regarding the award of
tenders, must make sound decisions that can be defended in any court
of law. The results of tenders awarded by the National State Board are
published in the Government Tender Bulletin, while unsuccessful
tenderers are informed individually that their offers were not
- When requested in writing, reasons are given to all interested
parties for the award of any tenders. Reasons for being unsuccessful
are also given to individual tenderers if they request so in writing.
No information which may be to the detriment of any tendered or which
would infringe on his / her privacy, is revealed to any competitor.
- Accounting' officers have to accept accountability for all
expenditures incurred within their various areas of responsibility.
Before requesting the advertisement of a tender, the accounting
officer must certify that funds are available for the specific
purpose. It has happened that the parliamentary committee on public
accounts resolved that unauthorised expenditure must be recovered from
the relevant official.
- The Office of the Public Protector is available for any member
of the public who is not satisfied with specific tendering procedures
/ awards. The Public Protector does not charge any fee from any
complainant to investigate any irregularities. Furthermore, the court
systems are available to all citizens.
- There should be a strict code of conduct for all tender board
- Every person involved in the tendering process must at all time
- When a tenderer / contractor is restricted, dissemination of
such information should be forwarded to all tender boards. The
tenderer should then be restricted throughout the public sector. When
the tenderer contractor is restricted, the directors of that
particular company must also be restricted for a similar period.
- All allegations of misconduct must be investigated. When
justified, the South African Police Service should be involved.
Telephone numbers and names of contact persons must be easily
accessible for reporting purposes.
At present we do have a diversity of tendering cultures in the public
sector. We are working towards uniformity within the whole public
sector procurement system. We envisage to have uniformity between
central and provincial tendering systems not later than 1 April 2000,
while parastatals and local authorities will be brought aboard as soon
as possible. Furthermore, public sector procurement will be monitored
continuously and the Minister of Finance is empowered to intervene
immediately to rectify any abuse of the system.
How does the above mentioned measures influence international trade?
The answer is very simple. The principles that are applicable to our
tendering system for internal tenders, are also applicable on
international tenders. We do have an additional condition, in cases
when a tender requires imported contents in excess of $10,0 million,
the contractor does have to adhere to our industrial participation
programme under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry.
However, measures such as evaluation criteria to be part of the tender
documents, reasons for awarding any tender, etc. are still applicable.
The public sector procurement system in South Africa is developed to
meet our country's needs. We are in a process of reforming the public
sector procurement system. The purpose of this reform is to make the
tendering system more easily accessible to the small, medium and micro
enterprises and by doing this, to ensure the inclusion of this sector
into the main stream economy of our country. The purpose is not to
prohibit large established companies from tendering, but to ensure a
fair division of available finances and the creation of job
opportunities by the public as well as the private sector. However, it
is evident that we do have a sound and fair system and that we are
striving to ensure that there is no room for any form of corruption.
An environment free of corruption should be the ideal way of living
for all citizens in Africa and in the rest of the world.