The South African government has launched a Central Supplier Database (CSD) as part of plans to improve supply chain management (SCM) in the public sector.
The government said the database was the first step towards standardising, automating and simplifying the fragmented SCM system, and was seen as the precursor to e-procurement in government.
Announcing the launch of the database, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene said it would enable a new approach to engaging with major suppliers and smaller and medium sized businesses, and would aid scouting for new suppliers, and ensure greater productivity and value for money.
There is currently no single comprehensive supplier database, so information related to government compliance requirements are duplicated during procurement processes.
Prospective suppliers can now register on the database, which will have interfaces to the South African Revenue Service, to enable tax clearance certificate verification, and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, for verification of business registration and business ownership information.
The database will also verify supplier information with the register for tender defaulters and database of restricted suppliers, as well as verify South African identification numbers with the Department of Home Affairs.
Nene said benefits of the new database included a reduction in effort and cost for businesses and government, a reduction in red tape, less fraud and lower costs for compliance audits.
“The CSD, as part of the modernisation of the supply chain management in government, will contribute to the National Treasury’s objectives of establishing a public procurement system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective,” said Nene.
Registration points will be set up in district offices to support suppliers that do not have internet access, and around 250,000 suppliers are expected to register in the next six months.
An e-tenders site, which advertises all competitive tenders for government work went live in April. It also allows the public and suppliers to access information on government procurement plans, including which bids will be advertised by when the responsible department or entity.
Nene said that the National Development Plan (NDP) had outlined the importance of public procurement in helping the country reach its economic, technological and cultural potential.
“Goods, services and infrastructure procurement are the machinery that makes service delivery a reality,” said Nene. “Suppliers are therefore, very important strategic partners of government in creating a great South Africa and making the vision described in the NDP a reality step-by-step. Trust is built when suppliers deliver the correct commodity of the right quality, in the correct quantities and to the exact correct delivery point. Trust is an essential ingredient in this relationship and when it comes to public procurement, much more trust, integrity and performance are required.”