National Treasury: No tender adverts during festive season

National Treasury: No tender adverts during festive season

GOVERNMENT departments, municipalities and state entities, have been cautioned against advertising tenders during the festive season unless there is an emergency, to avoid being sued or face accusations of misconduct.

Accountant-General Shabeer Khan has warned accounting officers and authorities of departments, constitutional institutions, public and municipal entities, and municipalities, that between December 15 and January 9 bids should not be advertised, published or closed.

He also addressed the cautionary notice to heads of provincial treasuries and chief financial officers of municipalities and municipal entities.

Khan said the government considered the period from December 15 to January 9 as the festive season.

Treasury has stated that during the festive season many suppliers, service providers, and other industries are closed, and therefore unable to respond to bid opportunities advertised during this period.

”National Treasury has experienced a flood of allegations of misconduct relating to the above-mentioned practices during this period. Advertising, publishing and/or closing bids during this period have been questioned and compromise(s) principles of transparency and fairness, among others,” he explained.

According to Khan, section 217 of the Constitution requires that when an organ of state contracts for goods and services, it must do so in accordance with the principles of fairness, equitability, transparency, competitiveness, and cost effectiveness.

”National Treasury cautions accounting officers and accounting authorities on advertising, publishing, and/or closing of bids during the festive period, unless relating to emergencies in terms of the supply chain management prescripts. Such practices may lead to unnecessary litigation that will further delay service delivery to the public,” he warned.

The National Treasury previously indicated that in specific cases, accounting officers and authorities were allowed to procure the required goods, services, and/or works by “other means” if it was impractical to invite competitive bids.

However, state organs are not allowed to do so during the festive period, and accounting officers and authorities may only deviate from the competitive bidding process if a case is deemed an emergency or the procurement is a sole source.

Emergencies are described as cases that require immediate action to avoid a dangerous or life-threatening situation, misery, or want when the invitation of comparative quotations is either impossible or impracticable.

But poor planning is not a justifiable cause for an emergency.

Khan advised accounting officers and authorities to ensure that officials responsible for supply chain management processes are made aware of his cautionary communication.

”It is imperative that appropriate internal control measures and approval protocols are instituted to mitigate risks associated with bids to be advertised during this period,” he said.

Treasury also informed procuring institutions that they could still advertise bids until December 14 but advised them to extend closing dates to late January 2024 to provide sufficient time for prospective bidders to respond to bids.

In terms of Treasury regulations, bids are advertised for at least a minimum of 21 days before closure except in urgent cases when the advertisement period may be shortened as accounting officers and authorities may determine.

[email protected]