On 25 February the Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, announced in his National Budget Speech that all government tender documents will be published on an e-tender portal from April 2015, and advertisements in newspapers will be phased out.
The publishing of all government tender documents on a central e-tender portal, and the phasing out of newspaper advertisements, is likely to lead to direct cost savings and, if properly implemented, to increased fairness, transparency and competitiveness in the public procurement system in South Africa.
Another welcome announcement is that a central supplier database will be introduced in April 2015. The database will have a single registration process for suppliers that do business with the State and will electronically verify a supplier’s tax and BEE status, and enable public sector officials doing business with the state to be identified.
The constitutional requirements of fairness, transparency, equitability, competitiveness and cost effectiveness are central to the public procurement of goods and services in South Africa. These principles are entrenched through the application of the Public Finance Management Act and the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act and will be promoted through the changes in the public procurement process.
These announcements follow positive steps taken by the National Treasury in recent years to address challenges in the State’s supply chain management process, such as the establishment of the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer and a recently published review of public sector supply chain management.