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Mayibongwe Maqhina | 29 August 2023

Parliament has asked members of the public and interested parties to make written comments on the Public Procurement Bill.

The bill, now before the standing committee on finance, was introduced in the National Legislature by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana after approval by the Cabinet in May.

Godongwana previously said the bill was revised to take into account the Constitutional Court judgment on the preferential procurement regulations and the Zondo Commission that highlighted abuses in state procurement.

Committee chairperson Joe Maswanganyi said stakeholders and interested parties should submit written submissions on the bill by September 11.

“Those who want to make submissions at public hearings on Tuesday, 12 and Wednesday, 13 September 2023 should specifically request this,” he said.

He added that the public hearings would be conducted virtually.

Maswanganyi explained that the Public Procurement Bill aimed to regulate public procurement and prescribe a framework within which preferential procurement must be implemented.

The summary of the bill states that public procurement in South Africa is currently fragmented as there are a number of laws that regulate procurement across public administration.

“This fragmentation results in confusion as different procurement rules apply. Some of these laws pre-date the constitutional order brought about in 1994,” reads the bill.

The National Treasury said it was important and necessary to have legislation that created a single framework regulating procurement in line with all applicable stipulations of the Constitution, and that contributed to address the economic and social challenges of South Africa.

“The bill aims to create a single regulatory framework for public procurement and to eliminate fragmentation in laws that deal with procurement in the public sector and, among others, provide for the establishment of a Public Procurement Office within the National Treasury.”

The new legislation would apply to all procurement carried out by a procuring institution, including procurement through donor or grant funding, and any person who submits a bid or has been awarded a bid.

It said no person may interfere with, or influence the procurement process of a procuring institution, and impede the accounting officer or the accounting authority or an official in fulfilling his or her responsibilities.

The bill sets out the categories of people who are not allowed to tender for services in the government.

These include public office bearers, leaders of political parties, civil servants, state-owned enterprise employees as well as employee of municipalities or municipal entities. This will also apply to non-executive directors of boards of SOEs and companies that have been blacklisted for a certain period.

“The bill also requires persons involved in procurement or a person related to the official ... to disclose a direct or indirect personal interest in a procurement.”

According to the proposed legislation, the Public Procurement Office that would be established within the National Treasury would promote and implement necessary measures to maintain the integrity of procurement, among other things.

Provincial treasuries will be expected to intervene by taking appropriate steps to address a material breach of the act by a procuring institution within their province.

“Every procuring institution must establish a procurement unit as part of its procurement system.”

The Public Procurement Office will be expected to develop an information and communication technology-based procurement system.

The bill also provides for the establishment of the Public Procurement Tribunal to review decisions taken by organs of state and to blacklist a service provider.

“If a bidder is not satisfied by a decision made by a procuring institution in terms of section 31, that bidder may, within 10 days of being informed of the procuring institution’s decision, submit an application for review to the tribunal.”

It also states that any party that was dissatisfied with an order of the tribunal may institute proceedings for judicial review.

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


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