AG lashes lax tender awards

2011-10-15 17:27

Provincial departments of health and education across the country are breaking the rules and regulations when awarding multi-million rand tenders, according to the auditor-general.

The report on infrastructure delivery at the nine provincial departments of health and education details how officials are contravening supply management regulations, resulting in additional costs of more than half (R359 million) of the original contract value (R600 million) in some cases.

In a number of cases, according to the report dated August 2011, the additional costs were incurred because of shoddy work and projects were delayed by an average of 22 months.

This was due to a combination of a lack of skilled personnel and shortcomings in the appointment of contractors.

Some contractors who were appointed were not registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

In some instances their grading was too low.

The report states that “in the public sector, it is a contravention of the CIDB Act to appoint a contractor that is not registered or is not registered at the correct grading”.

The education and health departments from various provinces awarded tenders worth R669.5 million and R876.8 million respectively to contractors with no grade or a low grade.

The AG found that tenders were also not always awarded to companies who scored the highest points during the bid evaluation process.

The department of basic education commented in the AG report that it was in the process of developing measures to deal with some of the findings.

It had also developed norms and standards for school infrastructure.

Provincial departments also have to submit annual infrastructure plans to the national department.

The department said it would further strengthen these measures by monitoring the provincial school building programme.

“This will enable the department to identify bottlenecks in specific provinces or issues affecting all provinces transversally that hamper service delivery.”

The national department of health had appointed an engineer to oversee all aspects of infrastructure,
including the hospital revitalisation grant.

It said support to provincial departments had been strengthened and the expenditure per project was being monitored monthly.

“Service Level Agreements will be signed with all the provincial departments of health and public works, with the intention to clearly define the roles at the various service providers providing coordination functions,” the department stated.

In a summary of comments from the various heads of provincial departments, they undertook to improve the planning process and appoint more technically qualified staff.

They said the Supply Chain Management process would be improved and “this will lead to to the appointment of competent contractors”.

An investigation into the use or non-use of infrastructure would also be launched.

Both the health and education departments have yet to respond.

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