Engineers want services designated under PPPFA’s local procurement

Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) has applied to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for engineering consulting services to be given “designated” status under government’s preferential procurement rules.

CESA president Naren Bhojaram said in reports earlier this month that the “designation of consulting engineering services has the potential to stimulate additional work for the industry, which, in turn, could support job creation and an enlargement of South Africa’s cadre of professional engineers.”

Under newly introduced preferential procurement regulations, the DTI has the authority to stipulate that government departments, agencies and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) procure designated products and services from local manufacturers, or providers.

Reports state that CESA is “deeply distressed that certain SOEs, including Eskom, Transnet, the Airports Company South Africa and the water boards, have received exemption from the new PPPFA regulations”, which came into force on December 7.

The decision could dilute the effectiveness of the PPPFA, while creating confusion in the market, Bhojaram said in media reports.

“We were very excited by the new regulations and are still very supportive . . . but we were disappointed that the application was not widespread and the Minister has exempted SOEs from complying with the regulations.”

Furthermore, CESA wants quality considerations to be integrated into the pricing dimension of public sector adjudication processes when consulting engineering services are being procured.

CESA CEO Graham Pirie argues that the 90:10 and 80:20 adjudication weightings model is inappropriate for the procurement of professional services, where experience and quality are often as important as the final price. Therefore, CESA has called for the 90% price consideration to be adjusted to cater for the experience of the service provider and the quality of the service provided.

“In the procurement of professional services, we believe that the element of quality must be brought into the procurement regulations in a single process,” Bhojaram adds.

He acknowledges that would this would result in the introduction of subjectivity to the adjudication, but says this could be overcome through the inclusion of technical professionals in bid evaluation committees.

Meanwhile, SmartProcurement is hosting practical technical workshops analysing and addressing the far reaching implications the revised PPPFA regulations have for procurement officers, service providers, suppliers and vendors.

Public courses are being held on February 28 in Gauteng and March 22 in Capetown.

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