Popcru wants ‘immediate end of tendering system’

2012-07-19 14:41

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has joined a growing chorus of organisations calling for government to do away the tendering system arguing that tenders are the root cause of corruption in every government department.

Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu agreed with suggestions made by the SA Communist Party and the Congress of SA Trade Unions who bemoaned the tendering system as the cause of corruption in the public service.

Cebekhulu was addressing an Institute of Security Studies seminar on the state of policing in South Africa in Pretoria today.

He urged government to find other ways to empower previously disadvantaged people and also called for a major review of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment.

Cebekhulu said that while corruption was the word being used by politicians to wage political battles against one another, it was politicians who could eradicate corruption by finding alternatives to the tendering system – including those issued by the police.

Cebekhulu was referring to the wide ranging investigation by the Special Investigating Unit on the police’s supply chain management unit which began in 2010.

“We are calling for the immediate end of the tendering system in South Africa because that is the source of corruption also in our police.

“We should also review the BBBEE because it needs to be redefined,” he said, adding a call for new national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega to advocate for an end to tenders.

He cited corruption within the police service as one of the reasons it was difficult for police to get closer to communities in the fight against crime.

Cebekhulu’s comments follow similar views expressed by Cosatu and the SACP.

The SACP made the call at its conference last month where Young Communist League secretary, Buti Manamela, also called for an end to a “tender state”.

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan also raised the issue when delivering his budget speech earlier this year and said that his department would draft a price referencing system to be used to identify tenders that exceed acceptable expenditure.

Auditor General Terence Nombembe’s report on the audit outcomes of national government departments found that it was becoming almost impossible to detect conflicts of interest where government officials awarded tenders to family members, close business associates or to their own businesses.

Nombembe’s audit found that R36 million in tenders were awarded to 59 officials and 14 close family members of the department of defence, and R9.7 million worth of tenders were awarded to 48 staff members in the 2010/2011 financial year.

In that year, R113 million worth of tenders were irregularly awarded to 190 public servants and 18 relatives of government officials.

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