'Cancer of corruption' afflicting SA procurement

17 August 2011

Want the latest procurement and supply chain news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the Supply Management Daily

17 August 2011 | Angeline Albert

Auditors have been told not to be afraid of treating the “cancer of corruption” afflicting particularly procurement processes at South Africa’s public bodies.

In a speech this week, South Africa’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan told members of the board of The Institute of Internal Auditors to ask “tough questions” of both public and private sector organisations to root out poor procurement.  

Speaking at the 14th annual National Internal Audit Conference, he said: “Now is the time to play your part in ensuring the prudent use of resources; ensuring that organisational policies are followed and operations are efficient. It is your responsibility to ask the tough questions to ensure that inefficiency, reckless use of resources and corruption is exposed.”

Gordhan said it was wrong that “key government functions are outsourced at exorbitant rates” and “millions of rands change hands for poor or no services being delivered”.

He said what they were attempting to tackle was a “cancer of corruption”. “As government, we want to intensify our efforts against corruption, particularly in procurement processes. The fraud and corruption that occurs in the public procurement of goods and services is directly linked to the private sector. In other words, we must come down hard on the corrupted and the corrupters.”

The minister asked internal auditors why they were so silent and accused them of failing to raise serious and uncomfortable questions that could expose those abusing state resources.

Turning to past president Nelson Mandela for inspiration he said: “Now is the time to put our heads together to find creative solutions and chart a new decade of hope and real change for all South Africans. It can be done. We have done it before in the lead up to our first democratic elections in 1994 and we can do it again. Let us work together in the interest of clean business and clean government.”

Earlier this year, Absa CPO and deputy chairperson of the CIPS board of management Karen van Vuuren said buyers in Africa may need to be prepared to lose their job rather than carryout an unethical practice. She described it as the “ultimate test” during a panel debate on corruption at the CIPS Pan-African Conference hosted by CIPS Southern Africa.

Calderbridge, Seascale
£52,518 - £64,233
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
£25k-£30k + benefits
GPA Procurement
CIPS Knowledge
Find out more with CIPS Knowledge:
  • best practice insights
  • guidance
  • tools and templates