The South African government is introducing an electronic tender portal for public sector contracts to improve the supply chain and help small businesses.
President Jacob Zuma said the portal system will be phased in starting in April, and will be better for small companies, which currently have to pay higher administrative costs to obtain hard copies of tender documents.
A centralised supplier database will also be introduced in April. Once it is fully functional, it will replace around 600 supplier databases that currently exist.
Zuma said the system would offer a quick and more effective mechanism for verifying supplier information including their black economic empowerment status and tax certificates, among others. Zuma was speaking in response to the debate on February's State of the Nation address.
“We are taking action to improve the performance of the supply chain management system in government to prevent the fruitless and futile expenditure, corruption and other problems you raised." He said the government bought goods, services and infrastructure worth around R500 billion a year.
“Often, we pay the highest prices and one part of government does not know how much the other part of government pays for goods and services,” he said. “The bulk of negative audit opinions arise from potentially avoidable procurement violations. This is also an area where corruption or allegations of corruption, occur.”