South African government to hire chief procurement officer

24 February 2012

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24 February 2012 | Angeline Albert

The South African government is to appoint a chief procurement officer as one of several measures announced to tackle corruption.

In his 2012 budget speech to parliament made this week, finance minister Pravin Gordhan said the National Treasury will appoint a CPO who will have overall responsibility for monitoring procurement across the government. The government intends to advertise externally for the post and said it has not identified a date by which it expects to have filled the role.

The search for a CPO is one of a number of measures announced by Gordhan to improve the capability of public sector purchasing. He said the competencies and capabilities required by staff working in procurement would be reviewed and strict vetting of all purchasing officers will take place before any buying appointments are made.

Steps will also be taken by the government to improve the ability of individual departments to set the specifications for all tenders. Gordhan said he will work with the minister of Public Works to agree to undertake a joint review of the validity and cost effectiveness of all government property leases.

The Treasury also plans to develop a national price reference system for goods and services in order to detect deviations from acceptable prices. 

The tax clearance system will also be strengthened to ensure that individuals who have defrauded the state will not be given public sector contracts.

“Fraud and corruption will be combated through changes to procurement policies and practices and tough enforcement of the law,” said Gordhan in his budget speech.

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