South Africa’s Public Procurement Bill – Quo Vadis?

Public Procurement Bill

Shaun ScottSouth Africa will soon get the chance to provide input on the Public Procurement Bill through Parliament’s portfolio committee. Discussing the implications of the process ahead is Johannesburg-based director, coach, consultant and Supply Chain Management practitioner, Shaun Scott.

The Public Procurement Bill has officially been a “Draft Bill” since February 2020 and formally a “Bill” once tabled in Parliament. When the Bill is signed by the President, it will become an Act.

This will undoubtedly be the most significant series of events in procurement since the 1997 green paper on procurement reform. The Act will:

  • Replace the procurement sections in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA); the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA); and the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act (FMPPLA);
  • Completely replace the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA); and
  • Scrap all related subordinate law including PFMA Treasury Regulations 16A and 16; the recent Preferential Procurement Regulations of 2022; Municipal SCM Regulations; and all related Practice Notes, Instruction Notes, Circulars and Guidelines issued by National Treasury and the Provincial Treasuries.

The Public Procurement Bill will also attempt to align legislation in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act and codes, the Construction Industry Development Board Act and a range of other industry Acts that include statements on procurement.

But is there enough time? National elections are scheduled for early 2024.

Late in 2022, President Ramaphosa said the bill will be tabled in Parliament in March 2023. Some were already saying it was too late. In May, Cabinet approved a version for submission to Parliament. That version required changes and delayed the tabling to June 2023, three months later than planned.

Given the very significant implications of the Public Procurement Bill, the question is whether there will be enough time to debate and amend the bill before the current parliament’s term is up. Stellenbosch University Professor Geo Quinot, in a recent discussion on the Bill, believes it is going to be difficult. See his discussion on YouTube:

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