Johannesburg - All government tender documents are planned to be made available on an e-tender portal by April this year.
This is according to the Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene in his 2015 national budget speech in Parliament.
“In close collaboration with the State Information Technology Agency, a central e-tender portal will be implemented from April this year,” said Nene.
“It will be compulsory that all tenders be advertised on this portal, and all tender documents will be freely available there. Tender advertisements in newspapers and the government gazette will be phased out,” he added.
In addition, Minister Nene said that in April 2015, a central supplier database will also be introduced.
“Suppliers will only be required to register once when they do business with the state. This will significantly reduce the administrative burden for business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The database will interface with SARS, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and the payroll system. It will electronically verify a supplier’s tax and BEE status, and enable public sector officials doing business with the state to be identified. This intervention will also reduce the administrative burden for SCM practitioners and address many of the concerns raised by the Auditor-General every year,” said Nene.
Adrian Schofield, from the Board of the Institute of IT Professionals, said the move to set up an e-portal for tenders is a positive one, but that questions surround its implementation.
“On the face of it, it would appear to be an open process that would allow free access to all tenders for all people,” said Schofield.
“It sounds good. In theory it's a more open process,” he said.
But Schofield said there are questions regarding how easy the portal will be to navigate and how the information will be displayed.
Schofield also raised questions about how South Africans who are not connected to the internet will be able to access the tender information.
Of the country’s estimated 50 million population, South Africa had 24.9 million internet users in 2014, according to Internet World Stats.