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November 2011 | Angeline Albert
Africa’s public works minister has blocked procurement staff in his department
from approving contracts for property leases.
decision has been taken after improper
tendering of R3 billion (£248 million) was uncovered at the department by the Special Investigating Unit. That discovered more
than 40 cases where building lease
tenders were awarded improperly. The purchasing function was found to have failed to follow procurement procedures and has subsequently been stripped of its power to arrange leases.
Following the problems, minister
Thulas Nxesi this week asked the Department of Public Works' acting director-general Mandla Mabuza to stop the department’s buyers signing
and approving leases for office and residential accommodation.
has also centralised lease procurement approval and made Mabuza the only person
allowed to give final consent for such a contract to be processed. A Bid Adjudication Committee at the DPW will then adjudicate
the purchase of leases. The same process will apply to executives such
as political leaders, commissioners and chief justices. And the procurement for
all acquisitions of moveable assets, such as furniture for executives must be
agreed in the same manner. The only exception is that the department’s regional
offices are allowed to conclude leases relating to annual contracts for
took over from his predecessor, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, two weeks ago and
promised to clean up the department. Mahlangu-Nkabinde lost her job following
the investigation and a cabinet reshuffle.
statement, the minister said his actions have in part been “prompted by the
public outcry around procurement of office accommodation and other moveable
assets for client departments”.
team of property management experts is being established to ensure the smooth
running of the change of arrangements.