DA Submits Private Members Bill on Officials Business Interests

Anthony Benadie MPL

DA Leader in Mpumalanga

The DA today submitted a draft Bill to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, which, if approved in its current form, would outlaw and prohibit all government employees, their spouses and immediate families from doing business with government.   This Bill is a first for Mpumalanga, and is based on Section 217(1) of the Constitution, which requires the provincial government, when contracting for goods or services, to do so in accordance with a system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. 

However, in its 2010/11 General Report on the Provincial audit outcomes of Mpumalanga, the Auditor-General (AG) stated that no less than 401 awards had been made to state officials and their close family members to supply goods or services to government departments. Although legislation does not prohibit such awards, the Public Finance Management Act and national treasury regulations prescribe the rules and processes to safeguard the procurement process against abuse.  

The AG further reported that procurement processes of 217 contracts worth R1,6 billion and 338 quotations to the value of R885 million were awarded in non-compliance with supply chain management legislation, resulting in uncompetitive or unfair procurement processes.   By passing and adopting the Bill, as proposed by the DA, the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature would in effect outlaw these practices, and by doing so, open up a host of opportunities for contractors and entrepreneurs. This in turn would stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and offer government departments the opportunity to get the best value for money, thanks to an open and transparent bidding process.  

The provincial finance department’s recently published a company blacklist, effectively banning 21 companies from doing business with government. According to the department, the aim of the blacklist is to improve supply chain management and financial governance across all departments as part of its advisory and monitory role on procurement processes. 

While the DA welcomes any efforts by the administration to prevent corruption and supply chain irregularities, we believe the true test for the ANC-government’s commitment an anti-corruption strategy, would be the adoption of the Bill as tabled by the DA.  

The Bill, if passed, would provide guidelines for companies and government departments to follow, while at the same time preventing possible corrupt activities.  

This Bill is crucial to the people of Mpumalanga, as corruption and self-enriching manipulation of tender processes steal directly from the poor. While the DA will exert as much pressure as possible to have the Bill passed, we call on ordinary citizens from every walk of life to make their voices heard, and call on the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature to adopt this crucial piece of legislation.

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