New finance laws look to stop government corruption in South Africa

 ·6 Aug 2023

​​​​​​​​The Public Procurement Bill, introduced to the National Assembly in June 2023, hopes to create a framework to end tender corruption.

According to Wright-Rose Innes, tender corruption was one of the reasons that South Africa was grey listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) earlier this year.

In response, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana introduced the draft Public Procurement Bill to ensure stability and transparency in public procurement at local and national levels.

Treasury wants to create a single regulatory system for public procurement that will apply to all entities that fall under the Public Finance Management Act and Municipal Finance Management Act. This aims to stop the corruption that is fraught in the current decentralised procurement system.

To create a uniform procurement system, the Bill wants to establish different regulatory bodies. These bodies will include a new Public Procurement Office that will develop measures to ensure the integrity of procurement, promote standardisation in procurement and supervise the implementation of the Bill.

Provincial Treasures will also have to assist in enforcing effective management and transparency of procurement processes. They will also have to introduce non-binding guidelines that will help procuring institutions in the implementation of the Act or any other procurement-related matters.

Godongwana will have to define a procurement system, and the Public Procurement Office can be instructed to determine the standard bid documents.

The Bill is also looking to introduce the use of technology in regard to procurement.

The Public Procurement Office will be tasked with developing an information and communication technology-based procurement system that will improve efficiencies, effectiveness and transparency – all in a bid to root out procurement corruption.

The system will require a single platform that provides access to procurement-related services for bidders, supplier and the public. It will also require a consistent procurement procedure and data that is easy to analyse and report on and allow for oversight of procurement purchases.

“It is clear from the Bill that a substantial overhaul of the public procurement system is envisaged and the free-to-do-as-you-like approach that has existed to date in respect of public procurement will be done away with,” Wright-Rose Innes said.

“Given the extent of the changes envisaged, it is questionable how long it will take before such a centralised process and systems will be actively used, but the intent to centralise, standardise and have proper oversight over all public procurement can only be welcomed.”

Below is the Public Procurement Bill that is before Parliament:

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