Treasury changes COVID-19 procurement system
SUNDAYWORLD / 29 APRIL 2020 16.01 / GEORGE MATLALA
National Treasury has abandoned its centralised procurement system for medical equipment, following complaints from black business of exclusion and attempts to undermine transformation and black economic empowerment.
Sunday World reported at the weekend that the Black Business Council (BBC) had demanded a list of suppliers who have so far benefited from the COVID-19 procurement system of personal protective equipment and ventilators, among others.
The selection of suppliers was done by Business for South Africa (B4SA), a group of organised business that was formed in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Ramaphosa announced last week that R20 billion rand was allocated to the Department of Health as part of government’s R500bn economic and social relief package.
The Solidarity Fund also announced that R2,6bn had been pledged in the fight against the virus and that 21 million masks, 400 000 test-kits and 200 ventilators had been purchased.
Imperial Health Sciences (IHS) was appointed as the agent to help with the implementation of a centralised system of buying PPEs, and warehousing and distribution.
Treasury noted that the central system was being replaced and new measures would be announced soon.
“National Treasury is fully committed to the Constitutional objective of having fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective procurement processes that take into account the need for procuring essential health products required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement reads.
“These processes should be compliant with the country’s imperatives of promoting structural transformation and broadening participation in the economy to strengthen economic development and empowerment of previously disadvantaged groups and individuals,” it adds.
The South African United Business Confederation commended Treasury for its decision.
The organisation’s chairman, Sello Rasethaba, said the outsourcing of procurement to B4SA fell foul of the Public Finance Management Act.
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