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Western Cape Government tackles public procurement changes, challenges and opportunities at annual conference

20th June 2024


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The Western Cape Government’s 11th Annual Smart Procurement Conference saw 500 provincial and municipal officials and suppliers meet to learn, share knowledge and network. The event’s key focus areas included strategic procurement and public-private partnerships, and the conference explored how these can enhance infrastructure delivery and build strong, sustainable communities.

Attendees at this important event included heads of supply chain in the province, engineers, asset managers, chief buyers, local economic development managers, chief financial officers and municipal managers, as well as suppliers. Officials from the national, provincial and municipal spheres of government outside the Western Cape also participated, to address shared challenges and opportunities currently facing public procurement.

Organised by Smart Procurement World, which has partnered with the Western Cape Government for the past 10 years to host successful procurement events in the region, the conference took place in Wilderness this year. It was a collaboration between the George Municipality and the Garden Route District.

This event supports the Western Cape Government’s bold economic growth strategy, “Growth for Jobs”, which includes prioritising infrastructure development as a catalyst for the creation of jobs and strengthening public-private partnerships so that the Western Cape becomes South Africa’s economic hub. The conference organisers stress that to achieve the province’s economic transformation goals, it is critical that governance principles are understood and upheld by all role players in the procurement and supply chain management space. It is also imperative to build capacity in this important sphere and empower officials and suppliers with the latest knowledge and skills to navigate the evolving supply chain landscape - including upcoming legislative changes.

The two-day conference’s powerful programme included sessions exploring topics ranging from energy procurement and public-private partnerships for infrastructure delivery to sustainable construction, urbanisation and urban mobility. The power of procurement as a catalyst for change and prosperity was on the agenda, too, and attendees explored opportunities to uplift and empower communities through strategic sourcing. The event also featured practical workshops for attendees, including one in which National Treasury discussed transversal contracting.

Among the key learnings delivered by this conference was the need for the Western Cape to build closer working relationships with policy makers like National Treasury; to address risks posed by the construction mafia; accelerate performance driven procurement; support suppliers; and ensure that all role players are prepared for the impact of the Public Procurement Bill.

A highlight of the conference was the supplier open day in George, which was sponsored by Absa and George Municipality and attended by 218 representatives from small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). This provided an invaluable opportunity for Garden Route District buyers and other stakeholders to engage with local suppliers to understand what they need to work successfully with different organs of state and private companies. Suppliers also had the opportunity to learn how to register on the different databases of Government and private companies. The supplier open day included presentations designed to give suppliers important insights and advice on doing business with government. Regulations and different funding models were unpacked to empower suppliers.

Commenting on this successful event, Dr KJ Haarhoff, deputy director: Strategic Growth and Economic Development at George Municipality, said that the Supplier Open Day had received positive feedback. “A key focus was to strengthen our partnerships by fostering mutual understanding and collaboration. Suppliers commended the event for creating an environment conducive to networking and relationship building. The dedicated networking sessions allowed suppliers to connect not only with our procurement team but also with each other, paving the way for potential synergies and collaborations within our supply chain.”

Delegates have also commended this year’s conference. Tebello Mpuru from the Garden Route District Municipality commented: “The Smart Procurement Conference has been an awesome experience, with all the procurement specialists gathered in one place and very relevant discussions, including on infrastructure, which is most critical. All these discussions and having everyone here has been very fruitful and will benefit our operations.”

Santie Roy, director: Local Government Supply Chain Management for the Western Cape Government, said that her key takeaway from the conference was the power of collaboration and developing relationships. “This is how we overcome silos and cooperate better within the different spheres of government. Not only do we have better working relationships, but we get to make friends along the way and it helps towards service delivery. I will always recommend this event in future,” she stated.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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