Buy local advocacy campaign Proudly South African (SA) has developed an in-house tender tracking system to monitor government’s compliance with its own mandate to make local procurement a priority.
The system trawls the websites of all three spheres of government, their agencies and entities, giving the team full access to the terms of reference of all requests for quotations and requests for proposals issued by government for designated products.
The software then delivers an email alert for each tender of those designated items, using key words to identify goods and services that could be produced, manufactured and/or supplied by a South African company. Items which cannot be procured here fall outside the search criteria.
The initiative was developed by Proudly SA CEO Eustace Mashimbye, the organisation’s in-house information technology team and trade union, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union, which implemented a similar programme in its sector.
“The advantages of the system are two-fold. It allows us to contact the procurement officer for each tender in the designated sectors and ensure that they prioritise local companies supplying locally manufactured goods or services in their evaluation of submissions.
“Secondly, it allows us to notify our own member companies who qualify to tender, to pitch for the business, thus adding to our members’ value proposition,” said Mashimbye.
Regulation 8 (1-2) of the 2017 Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act amended regulations requires that all relevant organs of State buy only locally produced products in certain sectors and subsectors at a prescribed level of local content.
However, compliance remains an issue. According to the 'Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap) 2014/15 to 2016/17' document, government reported that: “…too much emphasis in procurement processes is still being placed on the traditional practice of acquiring goods and services at the lowest cost, regardless of origin and quality – thereby failing to stimulate either domestic development of improved products and services or the creation of new markets for industrial innovations”.
The tender monitoring system flags award dates and allows an officer at Proudly SA to follow up to ensure compliance with legislation. Where a sector is not legislated, Proudly SA will ascertain whether a South African company, product or service was selected in accordance with government’s own mandate, and if not, why not.
“If any government department or entity is found to be in breach of any legislation or the terms and conditions of the original tender, they will be reported to the appropriate authorities, being the National Treasury assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Industrial Procurement Unit, and the tender may be declared null and void and be withdrawn,” said Mashimbye.
Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies added his support to Proudly SA’s proactive stance on ensuring that government tenders for currently designated products, and for those that will be designated in the future, favour South African companies where possible.
“One of the aims of the Ipap is to raise domestic demand through localisation and so it is important that we walk the talk in this regard, not only in legislated sectors, but across the board from small stationery items to large scale infrastructure projects.
“I commend Proudly SA for assisting us in this regard, and we look forward to growing the contribution government can make to the gross domestic product through local procurement,” said Davies.