The Public Procurement Bill is deficient and dangerous
Parliament’s National Assembly has passed the Public Procurement Bill, sending it to the National Council of Provinces. This Bill is among the most consequential statutes advanced by President Ramaphosa’s administration. It will govern South Africa’s trillion rands of annual procurement expenditure, a precious fifth of gross domestic product. Despite legislative drafting proceeding since 2014, in recent months we’ve borne witness to a rush to get the Bill through Parliament before the 2024 elections. This rush has been attended by unclear, unstudied, and un-consulted eleventh-hour changes, which through their ramifications for state functions and the economy, will have profound implications for the basic rights of all South Africans.
The Bill is deficient. To address systemic issues in public procurement, to avoid actually amplifying existing legal, operational, and economic chaos, there are serious corrections to be made to the Bill before it advances further. In this statement, we focus our concerns on participatory procedure, integrity and transparency, and preferential procurement.
The Procurement Reform Working Group, formed in 2020, includes representatives from a range of civil society organisations as well as independent researchers who collaborate on research and advocacy towards reforming the public procurement system in South Africa (procurement law reform, mechanisms for enhanced transparency in the public procurement system, and more).
Issued by the Public Procurement Working Group (PRWG), including:
● Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
● AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
● Corruption Watch
● Equal Education
● Equal Education Law Centre
● Legal Resources Centre
● Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI)
● Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)
● #Unite Behind