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Gauteng declares war on corruption with open tender system

Oct 11 2016 13:40
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Worldwide, tender processes are an avenue for state corruption and state capture to take place, said Gauteng Premier David Makhura. For this reason the Gauteng government’s open tender system has been established to fight corruption in procurement processes.

Makhura was speaking at the first Gauteng Open Tender Seminar in Midrand on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was also at the seminar, received news from his family that he was served a summons for fraud by the Hawks.

LIVE: Gordhan summons spooks investors

By 2018/2019 the Gauteng government hopes to achieve 100% open tender procurement. It was established in the Gauteng government’s effort to find ways to restore confidence in public procurement processes.

“Transparency and accountability are important to save public officials and civil servants from themselves, from capture by private and corporate interests,” said Makhura. The system aims to promote transparency of government and greater accountability to citizens, said Gauteng MEC of Finance, Barbara Creecy.

The pilot project included the appointment of the contractor for the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) road project and the provincial banking tender, said Creecy. In the last financial year, the project was extended to 15 tenders across five provincial government departments.

In 2016, the project has established 72 tender programmes, coming to R10.4bn. This is over 50% of the Gauteng government’s budget for goods and services, explained Creecy.

Stopping corruption requires deterrence, prevention and education, added Makhura. He explained that corruption is a concern to citizens of democracy. “People demand accountability and transparency… People raise concerns about corruption in government procurement processes.” This means we need more accountable government processes.

By opening procurement processes, the public can scrutinise and probe processes, he said. “Corruption and perception of corruption is the leading motivation in protests by citizens, such as service delivery protests and community protests.”

People believe they have to bribe their way into “corridors of power”, and this situation is unsustainable, said Makhura. “We have to stop the rot.”

Similarly, government required delivery for the services procured to businesses. “We need to get value for money,” he said.

To fight corruption government must commit to promote integrity, accountability and transparency in government decision making process and restore public confidence in public institutions. He added that words alone were not enough and that they should be matched with actions.

It is possible to fight corruption

Government should account for every cent used from public resources. The Gauteng government showed an improvement in its 2016/2017 audit outcomes for departments and agencies. “All departments and agencies received unqualified audits,” he said.

An open government partnership promotes transparency, empowers citizens, and fights corruption. “We must open the budget process to public scrutiny.”  

If students see how the budget is allocated, they will see the money is not spent on pet projects but citizen priorities. The public must see that resources are being used prudently, said Makhura.

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