Auditor slams SA province's 'culture of non-compliance'

22 June 2011

22 June 2011 | Angeline Albert  

Poor leadership at one government department in South Africa has created a “culture of non-compliance” with the country’s procurement rules, according to a report by the auditor general.   

The Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) was investigating the purchase of security services by the Gauteng Province's Department of Roads andTransport (DRT). It concluded that five bidders were awarded security contracts they were not entitled to because they should have been disqualified at the preliminary evaluation stage. 

Aninvestigation into the procurement of various contracts at the GautengProvincial Department of Roads and Transport, published this month, covered security services contracts worth R66,144 000 (over £6 million) which were advertised in the five regions of the province where the DRT has offices. The aim of the deal was to appoint one bidder per region. 

The auditor general’s investigations found that the scoring of bidders was inconsistent and inaccurate, and no vendor assessments or security screening was performed on the successful bidders. The DRT was found to have followed a competitive bidding process in awarding the deals, but its mandatory evaluation criteria changed after the closing date for bids. The investigation also discovered the possibility of bids being deposited after the closing date.

The signing of the contracts with the successful bidders was halted pending the outcome of the AGSA’s investigation. In the meantime, the previous suppliers continued to provide a service.

The report’s findings, which highlighted “a culture of non-compliance, where the tone at the top is not appropriate”, are based on investigations conducted between January-May 2011. The auditor general said the report’s conclusions indicated “inadequate monitoring and oversight by the leadership”. The document recommended that compliance with procurement rules in the evaluation of bids and appointment of service providers should be strictly enforced by the DRT. It also said the department must reconsider its appointment of the service providers. 

In a written response to the AGSA’s report, the head of DRT said: “What is referred to by the AGSA report as a culture of non-compliance is actually a systems’ inadequacy that is actually in the process of being corrected.”

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