APPRRU hosts workshop on procurement law reform in South Africa

 

Participants at the APPRRU workshop

Participants at the APPRRU workshop

In September 2014 APPRRU hosted a workshop at National Treasury in Pretoria around procurement law reform in South Africa. Leading legal practitioners in the area of public procurement regulation joined academics from APPRRU and policy-makers from Treasury to discuss current initiatives in drafting a new public procurement regulator statute that can provide the institutional basis for comprehensive reform of the public procurement regulatory regime. Participants discussed a working draft bill prepared in the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in Treasury as well as the procurement chapter of the draft Treasury Regulations under the Public Finance Management Act. The workshop was a follow-up on the earlier work done by Prof Quinot of APPRRU for Treasury on the legal landscape governing procurement regulation in South Africa.

Participants at the APPRRU workshop

Participants at the APPRRU workshop

Participants at the APPRRU workshop

Participants at the APPRRU workshop

Senior Experts Dialogue on “Science, Technology, and Innovation and the African Transformation Agenda

On the 22nd July 2014, Dr Sope Williams-Elegbe was invited by the UN Economic Commission for Africa to speak at the Senior Experts Dialogue on “Science, Technology, and Innovation and the African Transformation Agenda: Making New Technologies work for Africa’s Transformation”. She spoke on the topic of technology, innovation and governance. 

World Bank colloquium on suspension and debarment

 

Dr Williams-Elegbe (centre) with other participants at the World Bank colloquium on suspension and debarment.

Dr Williams-Elegbe (centre) with other participants at the World Bank colloquium on suspension and debarment.

On 15th May 2014, Dr. Sope Williams-Elegbe was invited by the World Bank’s Office of Suspension and Debarment to speak at the 2nd colloquium on suspension and debarment which held in Washington DC. Sope was on a panel with other experts who discussed the relationship between debarment and other legal and administrative sanctions.

Munich symposium on bidder selection, qualification and exclusion

Quinot presenting his paper.

Quinot presenting his paper.

Academics from five continents met in Munich, Germany on 2-3 July 2014 to discuss current developments in procurement law with a focus on the selection, qualification and exclusion of bidders under various national and international public procurement systems. The symposium was hosted by Prof Martin Burgi, Chair for Public Law and European Law at the Research Center for Public Procurement Law and Administrative Co-operations, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Prof Geo Quinot of APPRRU presented a paper dealing with developments in African procurement law and focusing in particular on current developments around qualification and award criteria in South African procurement law.

Quinot’s paper is available here.

Symposium participants

Symposium participants

Quinot advises South African Treasury on procurement reform

In March 2014 Prof Geo Quinot of the African Public Procurement Regulation Research Unit (APPRRU) delivered a commissioned research report to the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) in South Africa’s National Treasury on the current state of public procurement regulation in South Africa and the need for reform.

The 160-page report noted the fragmented nature of the law currently governing public procurement in South Africa. It further analysed evidence of the adverse effect that the current state of procurement law is having on supply chain functions and consequently public administration.

Prof Geo Quinot (right) presents the research report titled "An Institutional Legal Structure for Regulating Public Procurement in South Africa" to Mr Henry Malinga, Chief Director: Policy and Strategy in the OCPO.

Prof Geo Quinot (right) presents the research report titled “An Institutional Legal Structure for Regulating Public Procurement in South Africa” to Mr Henry Malinga, Chief Director: Policy and Strategy in the OCPO.

The report recommended that government pursue a comprehensive strategy of public procurement regulatory reform. The first recommended step is to create a public procurement regulator in South Africa by means of dedicated legislation. Such an entity should consequently be tasked with the reform of the substantive law governing public procurement, a high priority of which should be the consolidation of the current rules on procurement.

Increased local content for South African public procurement contemplated

On 7 April 2014 the South African Minister of Trade and Industry launched the sixth version of government’s  Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) covering the period 2014/15 to 2016/17. Public procurement features prominently in the IPAP as a key lever of industrial development. The Plan in particular contemplates increased focus on designating specific sectors of public procurement for local content thresholds. Under the Preferential Procurement Regulations, 2011 (issued in terms of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act 5 of 2000) the Department of Trade and Industry is empowered to designate sectors where only locally produced goods or services or goods meeting stated thresholds of local production may be procured. In a key paragraph the IPAP states:

“Nevertheless, too much emphasis in procurement processes is still being placed on the traditional practice of acquiring goods and services at the lowest cost, regardless of origin and quality – thereby failing to stimulate either domestic development of improved products and services or the creation of new markets for industrial innovations.”

The IPAP also expresses strong support for the current comprehensive review of the public procurement regime headed by National Treasury.

APPRRU represented at ICPS Procurement Week 2014

On 20 March 2014 prof Geo Quinot participated in a session dealing with international trends in procurement dispute resolution at the Procurement Week 2014 organised by the Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies. The annual Procurement Week of the ICPS, sponsored by the Welsh Government, took place from 17 to 21 March 2014 in Cardiff, Wales under the theme “A 2020 vision: Public Procurement Insights and Mega Trends”.

From left: Alexandre Motta, Geo Quinot, Frank Brunetta & Michael Bowsher

From left: Alexandre Motta, Geo Quinot, Frank Brunetta & Michael Bowsher

Quinot presented the findings of comparative research on supplier remedies in African procurement systems. The other speakers in the session were Frank Brunetta, Procurement Ombudsman of Canada; Michael Bowsher, QC of Monckton Chambers, London and Alexandre Motta, Managing Director of the School of Administration in the Ministry of Finance of Brazil, who each shared their perspectives on dispute resolution in procurement contexts within their respective systems.

In debate following the individual presentations questions were raised about the suitability of courts as primary vehicles for resolving disputes in public procurement. In particular the current approaches to reliance on ADR to resolve disputes in various stages of the procurement process were discussed. Participants noted that it was especially difficult to implement ADR approaches in respect of disputes during the adjudication stage of public procurement.  Particular problems that commonly emerge in this context are the constitutional nature of these disputes making them not suitable to private dispute resolution processes as well as the necessity of including all bidders in a dispute resolution mechanism during the adjudication stage, which is challenging in most ADR mechanisms. Panel members noted that the statutory solution in Canada involving the Procurement Ombudsman seems a good approach.

Public Procurement: Global Revolutions VII Conference: 2015

The Public Procurement Research Group at the University of Nottingham has announced the seventh in a series of successful international conferences, which will be attended by policy-makers, lawyers and practitioners from the main international organisations involved in procurement regulation, as well as world-leading professors and researchers.

The conference will take place on 15-16 June 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University of Nottingham. It will include plenary sessions for all delegates and a series of parallel workshops and debates focusing on specific topics of interest to different delegates.

The conference is sponsored by The Achilles Group and more information can be found on the conference website.