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.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch University available

The Department of Public Law at Stellenbosch University invites applications for a postdoctoral research fellowship in administrative law. Applicants must have attained a doctorate in law with a focus on South African administrative law and judicial review within the last five years and have experience in comparative research in administrative law. Work under the fellowship will be affiliated with activities of APPRRU.

–          More information.

Black Business Council members call for procurement reform in South Africa

The Mail & Guardian reports that members of the Black Business Council (BBC) have renewed their calls for the approach to black economic empowerment in public procurement in South Africa, as implemented under the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act of 2000, to be revisited. In particular some members have called for the Act to be scrapped. One of the main concerns is that the Act only provides for price preferences and then only at a fairly small margin (20% for contracts under R1 million and 10% for contracts above). Members argue that this measure is insufficient to promote true empowerment through procurement.

Read the full article here>>

APPRRU researchers participate in Global Revolutions conference

Dr Sope Williams-Elegbe, deputy director of APPRRU, presenting a paper on public procurement law reform in Africa at the Public Procurement Global Revolutions VI conference.

Dr Sope Williams-Elegbe, deputy director of APPRRU, presenting a paper on public procurement law reform in Africa at the Public Procurement Global Revolutions VI conference.

Three APPRRU researchers, Sope Williams-Elegbe, Ama Eyo and Geo Quinot, participated in the Public Procurement Global Revolutions VI conference, held at the University of Nottingham in the UK from 24 to 25 June 2013.

The conference brought together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners from across the world to deliberate on current issues in public procurement regulation. The APPRRU researchers brought an African perspective to the discussions.

APPRRU was also one of the collaborators in organising the conference.

Bolton trains local administrators

In March 2013 Professor Phoebe Bolton offered a one-day training course to municipal officials of the Saldanha Bay Municipality. The training focused on the following aspects:

  • rules for the acquisition of goods and services and deviations from the prescribed rules;
  • the roles and functions of bid committees;
  • rules for the determination of responsiveness;
  • rules on obtaining clarifications from bidders;
  • rules on the disqualification of bidders;
  • the submission of tax clearance certificates;
  • the supervisory role of the Municipal Manager in the procurement process;
  • the receipt of complaints and appeals from aggrieved bidders; and
  • the application of case law

More procurement reforms on the way in South Africa

In his budget speech in Parliament on 27 February 2013, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan indicated further reforms to the public procurement system in South Africa with a particular focus on curbing corruption. He said:

Minister Gordhan delivering the 2013 budget speech

Minister Gordhan delivering the 2013 budget speech

Procurement and combating corruption

Mister Speaker, last year I said to this House that we will continually endeavour to increase the value which government receives for the money it spends.

Let me be frank. This is a difficult task with too many points of resistance! However, we have registered some progress. In the present system, procurement transactions take place at too many localities and the contracts are short term. Consequently there are hundreds of thousands of transactions from a multitude of centres. There is very little visibility of all these transactions. While our ablest civil servants have had great difficulty in optimising procurement, it has yielded rich pickings for those who seek to exploit it. There are also too many people who have a stake in keeping the system the way it is. Our solutions, hitherto, have not matched the size and complexity of the challenge. As much as I want, I cannot simply wave a magic wand to make these problems disappear. This is going to take a special effort from all of us in Government, assisted by people in business and broader society. And it will take time. But we are determined to make progress.

The process for setting up the Chief Procurement Office in the National Treasury has begun in earnest and I shall soon be able to announce the name of a Chief Procurement Officer. A project team seconded from state agencies and the private sector has identified four main streams of work, involving immediate remedial actions, improving the current system, standardising the procurement of critical items across all government and the long-term modernisation of the entire system.

Among the first initiatives of the CPO will be to enhance the existing system of price referencing. This will set fair value prices for certain goods and services. Secondly, it will pilot procurement transformation programmes in the Departments of Health and Public Works, nationally and in the provinces.

National Treasury is currently scrutinising 76 business entities with contracts worth R8.4 billion which we believe have infringed the procurement rules, while SARS is currently auditing more than 300 business entities and scrutinising another 700 entities. The value of these contracts is estimated at over R10 billion. So far 216 cases have been finalised resulting in assessments amounting to over R480 million being raised. The Financial Intelligence Centre has referred over R6.5 billion for investigation linked to corrupt activities.

I fully support Minister Sisulu’s call for appropriate curbs on officials doing business with government. I will complement her initiative by aligning the Public Finance Management Act with the provisions of the Public Service Act.”

These remarks confirm the impression created by the draft Treasury Regulations published late last year, which, in the part dealing with supply chain management, seem to suggest a move back to a more central controlled procurement approach.

New book on African public procurement regulation

In January Cambridge University Press published Public Procurement Regulation in Africa edited by Prof Geo Quinot (Stellenbosch University) and Prof Sue Arrowsmith (University of Nottingham). The book aims to address the shortage of scholarship in the area of public procurement regulation on the African continent and to promote future research. In the book the law governing public procurement in a number of African systems is analysed and key themes relevant to all African states are looked at. Part I discusses the regulatory regimes of nine African systems using a common framework, providing both a focused view of these African systems and an accessible comparative perspective. In Part II, key regulatory issues in public procurement that are particularly relevant in the African context are assessed through a comparative approach. The chapters consider the influence of international regulatory regimes (particularly the UNCITRAL Model Law on procurement) on African systems and provide insights into the way public procurement regulation is approached in Africa. Apart from contributions by Quinot, the book also contains chapters written by Prof Phoebe Bolton and Dr Sope Williams-Elegbe, both of Stellenbosch University. The book is one of the first major outcomes of the work done by the African Public Procurement Regulation Research Unit, established at Stellenbosch University in 2012.

More information >>

Draft Treasury Regulations published

The South African National Treasury has published new draft Treasury Regulations under the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999 to replace the current 2005 Treasury Regulations. Included in the new draft is an entire new section (Part 7) dealing with Supply Chain Management and setting out in significant more detail than the current Treasury Regulations the legal rules for public procurement. The draft aims to give more explicit content to the five constitutional principles governing public procurement, namely fairness, equity, transparency, competitiveness and cost-effectiveness. Noteworthy developments are strict rules about tender awards to persons in the service of the state, mandatory participation in transversal term contracts arranged by the relevant treasury and extensive formal reporting requirements of all procurement transactions.

The draft regulations can be found here >>

APPRRU’s comments on these regulations are available here>>