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17 February 2011 | Angeline Albert
Efficient procurement is needed to help fill South Africa’s
potholes, the nation’s transport minister has said.
In a speech made this week, Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele
launched the S’hamba Sonke ‘walking together’ maintenance programme, which has
a total budget of R21.8 billion (US $3 billion).
He pledged that purchasing bottlenecks will not hinder the
government’s plan to roll out the nationwide road maintenance programme for
secondary roads. Rather, he said, efficient procurement, particularly during
the tender process, was key to filling the country’s potholes.
“We will streamline the procurement process so that the
necessary skills and inputs are sourced through a specially designed
procurement regime… including setting up project management units in all
provinces and nationally to ensure we are ready to roll by the beginning of the
financial year,” he said.
Logan Maistry, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport,
said: “There have been certain instances where procurement efficiency and
effectiveness isn’t tackled. Potential procurement bottlenecks could be in the
tender adjudication process. Bid evaluation committees have buyers but also
need technical experts skilled in road construction and maintenance. The
department wants to ensure the right skills in this area are employed in order
to get the tender specifications right. Whatever the bottlenecks, we want to
overcome them and ensure procurement is giving value for money.”
Central government buyers will help provincial governments implement
Last month, the newly appointed member of the executive
council for Gauteng’s roads and transport department, Ismail Vadi, asked South Africa’s auditor general to investigate 13 contracts issued between September and December 2010. The contracts
include a three-year, R923 million (US$127 million) road construction deal.