Johannesburg - He will be the hero of the man in the street
and feared by every tenderpreneur. We don’t know who he is yet, but when the
chief procurement officer (CPO) comes to town, everyone will take note.
The CPO is probably the most interesting job Minister of
Finance Pravin Gordhan has created since he took office.
Whoever gets this position will have the power to cancel
tenders if he or she sees fit, and intervene before the cash is paid out to a
crooked businessperson or government official.
The official will be tasked with investigating possible
kickbacks or tenders-for-friends schemes.
According to the Treasury’s directorgeneral, Lungisa
Fuzile, the appointee will deal with weaknesses in the procurement system.
The most important weakness, it appears, lies in the supply
chain management process.
“The problems relate to misdemeanours such as favouritism
and rigging of tenders. We have concluded there is no monitoring of the extent
to which people comply with supply chain management rules.”
The CPO, unlike the auditor general, will be inside government,
so he will be quicker off the mark to spot problems in the process and do
something about it before any money gets paid out.
Said Fuzile: “The CPO will do an audit before the financial
year has ended.
“He will know who won the tender and what relationships
exist between those who won the tender and the employees of the department who
awarded the tender.”
The CPO will also try to spot trends to ensure that the same
mistakes are not made twice.
But will the new office have any teeth?
“The office will ensure that disciplinary procedures take
their course,” is all Fuzile would say for now.
- City Press