Finance MEC Barbara Creecy and transport MEC Ismail Vadi announced the R50 million upgrade of Cedar Road was the pilot project for the new process.
The provincial government sought to restore public confidence in tender processes, with the new process aimed at improving transparency and compliance with the Public Finance Management Act, they said in a joint statement.
Central to this was opening the bid adjudication committee process to public observation, as well as publishing the outcomes of each stage in the tender process on the provincial treasury website.
Creecy said the best way to re-establish public confidence was to make the process more open to public scrutiny, so bidders were convinced the award process was fair and transparent.
“The public should have confidence that treasury regulations protecting the procurement of goods and services are being adhered to by government officials,” said Creecy.
Vadi said his department was participating fully with the pilot project, and had identified the upgrading of Cedar Road in Fourways as a practical test of the new tender process.
“We are particularly pleased that our department has been selected for this pilot study as on average we process over 100 tender awards annually,” Vadi said.
In addition, after the close of the advertising process, tender boxes would be opened publicly and all documents would be imprinted to prevent unauthorised switching of documents later in the process.
The provincial treasury also introduced other measures to enhance transparency of existing tender processes.
- Ensuring detailed work to establish contract conditions and proper cost and time estimates prior to advertising, so evaluation criteria were appropriate and avoided needing to be changed during the evaluation itself;
- Allowing the provincial treasury to observe in-house departmental tender processes to ensure greater compliance with supply chain management procedures; and
- Appointing an independent probity team to audit all tenders with a contract value of more than R50 million.
The treasury was making sure the ground rules were established before the start of the process and that these conditions were not changed during the process itself, Creecy said.
“The probity team appointed by treasury will ensure that the bid evaluation committee sticks to these ground rules,” she said.
The treasury would in future also take a greater interest in contract implementation by ensuring contractor performance was closely monitored and evaluated.
Departments would inform treasury of any contractor who was not performing in line with expectations, and treasury would in turn warn other departments about the poor performance of the contractor in question.
Once the pilot project was completed, lessons learnt would be included in a revised open tender policy that would be taken to the Gauteng executive council for adoption across the provincial government.