Cape Town – Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene emphasised the scale of SA’s public procurement in his mini budget speech on Wednesday.
"Public procurement is big business," Nene said.
"This year, government has budgeted about R190bn for goods and services and R162bn for infrastructure," he said.
Nene said that initiatives led by the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer aimed to deliver lower-cost goods and services more efficiently and transparently through "streamlined processes, strategic sourcing, transversal tenders and improved use of technology".
The goal was to reduce bureaucratic inertia and red tape, and stamp out corrupt procurement practices, according to Nene.
The central supplier database has been in operation since September 1 2015 and more than 20 000 suppliers have been registered on the site, with 9 500 verified.
The database will become mandatory for national and provincial departments and municipalities.
"This will reduce the administrative and cost burden of procurement, as the requisite documents will only need to be submitted once for a predetermined period," said Nene.
Nene said the eTender portal provided a single point of entry to identify business opportunities with government.
Between 1 April and 15 October 2015, more than 2 000 tenders worth about R28bn were posted onto the portal.
According to Nene a single procurement bill was being developed to replace the more than 80 different legal instruments, guidelines and instruction notes that govern public procurement.
The Office of the Chief Procurement Officer will present a draft bill for comment in January 2016, he said.
"Tender documents will be made more user-friendly. The number of documents needed for a tender will be reduced, and the language used will be clear and unambiguous."