The Public Service Commission (PSC) says corruption frequently occurs at the quotation stages for contracts worth less than R200 000. The PSC told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration that in inviting and then evaluating quotations civil servants often did not comply with procurement rules.
The PSC undertook a study because of an ongoing escalation in financial misconduct in the supply chain management process. In the 2005/06 financial year 771 cases of financial misconduct were reported to the PSC by national and provincial departments. This number increased to 1042 in the 2006/07 financial year.
The PSC found that in 29% of transactions evaluated no quotations were obtained before orders were placed with service providers. For a further 45% of all transactions, the required number of quotations was not called for, while 46% of transactions the quotations were not evaluated, as required by procurement rules.
The rate of compliance to procurement rules relating to invitation of quotations in four provinces, including national departments, is below the average rate of 71%. The Gauteng province has a compliance rate of 58%, the Western Cape pre-April 2009 was 47%, and national departments showed only a 54% compliance.
The Democratic Alliance party says the true figures “are most likely worse, as not all departments at both national and provincial level submitted the requested information.”