The pilot programme is one of the first tangible projects of the OCPO since its establishment was announced by Pravin Gordhan, minister of the treasury during his budget speech in February.
Its mandate is to centralize government procurement and to ensure that procurement processes are prudent, deliver value for money and help to improve service delivery.
The OCPO will also protect government against the procurement of items at inflated prices. There have been several incidents of this in the past, including one where bottled water was bought for R56 a bottle.
The pilot programme will include 20 products ranging from basic foodstuffs to stationary and laptops. The aim is to ensure that government departments and agencies do not overpay on such products. The pilot will initially only run in one province, but will in due course be extended to all government agencies.
The list will be expanded to include between 350 to 400 products. StatsSA will assist the OCPO to determine the reference prices.
“This is not price regulation, but a benchmarking exercise,” an OCPO official told Business. “It is to find a fair value for these items.”