Announcement to be made on chief procurement head soon

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cape Town – The process to set up a chief procurement office in the National Treasury has begun, the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said today, adding that he expects to announce the name of the chief procurement officer soon.

The chief procurement officer is expected to help the National Treasury to scrutinise tenders more carefully in a bid to crack down on corrupt officials and business people.

“A project team has been 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,” said Gordhan.

He said among the first initiatives that the chief procurement officer is expected to tackle is to enhance the existing system of price referencing when the state buys from suppliers, which the minister proposed in last year’s budget.

“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,” he said.

He said the National Treasury was busy looking at 76 business entities with contracts worth R8.4 billion, which it believes have infringed procurement regulations, while the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is auditing more than 300 businesses and scrutinising a further 700 – which together have contracts with government valued at over R10 billion.

So far, 216 cases have been finalised in assessments, amounting to over R480 million being raised.

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has referred over R6.5 billion for investigation linked to corruption.

Gordhan also hinted that the FIC should look at probing the bank accounts of public officials to guard against corruption.

“Worldwide, special measures are being taken to oversee the accounts of what have become known as ‘politically exposed persons’ – public representatives and senior officials.

“I have asked that the FIC should explore how we might bring South Africa into line with these international anti-corruption and anti-money laundering standards,” he said.

He said the Public Finance Management Act will be amended so that public officials will not be able to do business with the government. –