The Competition Commission is calling on authorities and policymakers to urgently address current systematic failures of the public procurement system. The commission has been at the forefront in fighting corruption and fining companies that have been escalating the prices of COVID-19 supplies.
Commissioner for the Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele says it is a very costly exercise to prosecute individual COVID-19 related procurement cases and it can overwhelm the capacity of institutions such as the commission.
“The commission has swiftly investigated these two cases involving very high markups for COVID-19 PPEs. Individual cases will not address what appears to be a systematic failure of procurement systems. We, therefore, call on authorities and policymakers to address these systematic failures as individual cases of this nature are complex, expensive, and may even overwhelm the capacity of institutions.”
The public procurement system also has been in the spotlight following recent allegations of corruption against some government officials.
Public Procurement Bill
Earlier this week, civil society group Corruption Watch wrote an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni asking them to ensure the speeding up of the process to enact the Public Procurement Bill into law. The organisation says it is concerned about the high levels of corruption in the system.
Corruption Watch Executive Director David Lewis says they want the government to show decisive leadership in the fight against corruption.
“We believe that with the current controversy around the current COVID-19 procurement corruption and the commitment to tighten it up to prevent further corruption there is a golden opportunity to reform the procurement system as a whole.”
The Bill is currently in Parliament for consideration.
ANC’s NEC stance on corruption
Following the African National Congress National Executive Committee meeting over the weekend, the party’s President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke out strongly against corruption. He urged law enforcement to thoroughly investigate those implicated in COVID-19 corruption.
He said that those charged with corruption will be asked to leave the party.
President Cyril Ramaposa briefs the media after the NEC meeting:
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