South African government procurement processes were deliberately flouted in at least half of tenders in recent years, according to the National Treasury’s (NT) acting CPO Willie Mathebula.
Deliberate infractions have resulted in the squandering of much of the state’s R800bn ($55b) annual procurement budget over the last decade, said Mathebula, according to News24.
Speaking in front of an inquiry into government procurement corruption and misuse of public funds, Mathebula claimed that in 2016 as much as 40% of the procurement budget was misused.
The inquiry into ‘state capture’ is looking into the influence of the country’s wealthy Gupta family on political decisions during the presidency of Jacob Zuma, including at least 11 suspected corrupt deals between state entities and Gupta-related businesses.
Zuma, who has in the past denied any wrongdoing, was appointed in 2009 and stepped down in February this year.
Mathebula added that the NT planned to appoint a procurement ombudsman to scrutinise future irregularities, telling the inquiry: "We are making provision for a procurement Ombudsman, providing for a cool-off period to give people opportunity to raise objections."
His testimony came on the second day of the inquiry, which is expected to investigate allegations made in a report by the nation's public protector.
These include a claim that in 2015 then-deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas was offered R600m ($41m) to accept the position of finance minister by businessman Ajay Gupta.
Zuma's son, Duduzane, also worked for the Guptas and has been implicated in the allegations, but he has denied his relationship with the family was improper.
Proceedings will resume on Friday, when Jonas is expected to testify.
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.