top of page



Asset 4.png



Dr John Ntshaupe Molepo | 14 February 2024

The government of South Africa uses tendering system to procure goods and services.

This procurement system is seen as one of the mechanisms to empower the disadvantaged members of the society.

The system was also introduced to welcome new participants in the mainstream economy particularly the marginalised black as it was difficult for new players to participate in government procurement.

Over the years tendering system has had many unintended consequences. It has contributed to poor delivery of public services and in some instances resulted in people (service providers and/or procurement officials) being killed.

In light of this, the critically important question we ought to be asking ourselves is whether we still need tendering system with its many deleterious consequences? In other words, is there no way in which public institutions can be better capacitated to reduce heavy reliance on the procurement system?

These questions are asked specifically because there are concerns that the tendering processes seems to be benefiting politicians and those who are politically correct and connected.

South African procurement system has resulted in high corruption. Harry Munzhedzi, a senior lecturer of Public Administration at the University of Venda, calls corruption and public sector corruption the “inseparable twins”. Munzhedzi’s argument is an important one in the context of this article. Implied in this argument is the reality that you cannot deal decisively with corruption in the public sector if you do not abolish the procurement system. This point was also emphasised in the founding manifesto of the EFF.

The events of the past week where an executive from Rand Waters, Teboho Joala, who was responsible for the procurement at the said institution was brutally murdered with his bodyguard in the purview of learners while they were doing outreach programme allegedly on the basis of projects and its procurement processes are very disturbing.

We are still going to witness a lot of death associated with procurement. In a township slang, they call this “borotho”. In communities, projects are stopped because people demand 30% which the Preferential Procurement Policy states that institutions must plan properly their procurement, identify tenders that will be used to promote SMMEs, co-operatives, rural and township enterprises.

Decide on the appropriate regulations to be used to achieve the desired outcomes. Now, those who are given tenders are unable to complete their projects because of ‘mafias’ demanding the 30% share in literal cash and failure to deliver, they stop your project. President Cyril Ramaphosa in one of his Sonas, strongly condemned this kind of behaviour and promised that government will harshly deal with this phenomenon.

Most government departments and municipalities use consultants even for services which could be easily done by them.

The Auditor General has also complained about this overuse of consultants who most of them do not necessarily have the capacity to perform. The use of consultants is premised on the neo-liberal logic that government does not have the requisite capacity to perform certain functions and should therefore turn to the private sector through outsourcing. But why cannot we capacitate government institutions to perform optimally? Recently, the South African government introduced the framework for the professionalisation of the public service which stresses the importance of employing qualified and skilled workers to do the work.

This, among others, is intended to capacitate government and to reduce oversubscription of consultants. The state should be the hub for qualified and skilled workers for anything required in the country.

It cannot be correct that a tender is issued to procure small items such as toilet paper, papers, coffee, and other items something that can be bought by a leader and account. Just because people want friends to benefit, they issue it for tender because the rules allow for it and the provision of such a service often takes time and at a high price.

The government has proposed various reforms particularly changing on the policies however those changes do not address the fundamental issues of capacity, service delivery and deaths that we are witnessing. All these is as the result of the neo-liberal mode of governance we have adopted in the democratic dispensation. Because of this, there is a propensity to put profits before people as government institutions are run like businesses.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


bottom of page