22 June 2011 |
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
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.
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.”