State Capture Inquiry: Govt. tender system in the spotlight

The public procurement system was scrutinized during the second day of the judicial investigation committee for state collection.

Acting Head of Purchasing Officer Willie Mathebula was the first witness to explain the rules of the purchasing system in detail. He was not expected to imply individuals, but rather that he would provide technical evidence about the functionality of the system.

Mathebula said that the system is currently being revised with a proposal to set up a tender ombudsman's office to deal with irregularities.

"We provide a Public Procurement Ombudsman, who provides a cooling-off period to give people the opportunity to raise concerns," Mathebula said.

However, he was unable to provide statistics on disputed tenders in comparison with the total number of tenders issued by the government.

Previously, he admitted that the tendering procedures were deliberately not followed in at least 50 percent of the tenders.

READ: State commission for shooting Day 1: Everything you need to know

The government is the largest buyer of goods and services, which is estimated to spend R800 billion a year.

Mathebula saw the first line of the tender process as open to abuse, since government officials who have a seat on the tender specifications can adapt the offers to individuals.

Deputy Supreme Court Raymond Zondo, head of the commission, admitted to know very little about the process of the supply chain, but said that it must be protected from corruption.

He expressed his concern that tender decisions were taken behind closed doors and were not accessible to the public.

Mathebula said they chose the current procurement regime after the state administration was slow to make decisions and the process was centralized, even for remote areas.

Cutlery & # 39; cooked & # 39;

Zondo asked what the chance was that someone noticed unfair editorial specifications of a tender.

"It depends on the experience or skill of a person to gauge whether sensitive specifications have been cooked," Mathebula replied.

He said that as a procurement employee he discovered a number of cases where the cutlery was "cooked" and sent back.

The committee was adjourned until Friday 9:30 am after the witnesses who were on the program on Wednesday and Thursday asked for postponement.

When it sits, former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, will testify about his meeting with the Gupta family.

He said he was offered R600,000 in cash and R600m later if he accepted to replace Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance.

He said that the meeting that was concluded in the home of politically-connected Gupta family in Saxonworld was attended by the eldest brother Ajay Gupta, businessman Fana Hlongwane and the son of the former president Jacob Zuma, Duduzane.

This was weeks before Nene's shock erupted in 2015.

READ: State Capture Inquiry: Mcebisi Jonas to appear on Friday

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