Issue Date: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Differences between public and private sector tenders

By Werner van Rooyen, Director of HowToTender (Pty) Ltd which specializes in tender consulting and tender training.

One question that we get asked a lot, especially at workshops, is what is the difference between Public Sector and Private Sector tenders? 

Public Sector tenders are from Government Departments and Government Institutions such as Municipalities whilst Private Sector tenders are usually from large business such as the major banks, large retailers, and large telecommunication companies.

The main difference between these types of tenders is the Public Sector tenders will all contain Standard Bidding Documents (SBD) that the bidder must respond to.  These Standard Bidding Documents are compulsory and if not completed it will disqualify your response.  Ensure that you complete all the Standard Bidding Documents correctly and truthfully.

The second difference is the fact that Public Sector responses to tenders is evaluated according the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (Act no 5 of 2000).  According to this Act, points are scored on the Technical Criteria of a tender.  If your response passes the minimum threshold for Technical Criteria you will be evaluated on Price and your B-BBEE status.  Again, points are earned and the bidder with the highest amount of points will usually be awarded the tender.

In the Private sector there are no Standard Bidding Documents to complete.  There usually is no point system in place on which you get evaluated.  The potential bidders are evaluated on their technical skills and price.  This means the Private Entity will have a pre-set standard that potential suppliers will have to comply with.  The Private Sector focuses more on the capability of the supplier and although price is important, they will not pick a supplier purely on price.  Private Sector tenders will also have more specific requirements that bidders will have to comply with.

In my opinion, Private Sector tenders are easier to respond too.  There are far less forms to complete.  However, you will find that in Private Sector tenders the questions are more direct regarding your enterprise’s ability to perform certain functions or to produce the goods requested.

It does not matter if you respond to a Public or Private Sector tender; always ensure that you complete the tender document correctly, accurately, and truthfully.  You must include every little detail in your response to a Private Sector Tender.  Use this detail response for your Public Sector tenders as well.  The more detail you provide the better your change in winning the tender.  Remember you must impress and convince a stranger that most probably have never heard of your business before, to buy your product and that you are the best person or company to be rewarded this tender.  If you do not give enough information, they are not going to look at you.

The danger with this approach is that you can give too much information.  Be careful not to give detail or information that is not directly coupled to the tender request.  It does not help to give information on the tables and cupboards that you produce but the tender only asks for chairs.  Give only information that is needed but in this information be as thorough as possible.  Remember, every tender document must be read by a person and if you are going to supply the person with irrelevant information, he or she is going to lose interest in your response.

To summarize, use the same information for a Public Sector tender response as for a Private Sector tender response.  Be accurate in the detail but do not give detail that is not required.

To learn more about this and many other tender conditions attend our “Become a Tender Expert” 2-Day workshops presented in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town.  Book and pay online at

Contact us at should you require more information.

You can also purchase a Tender Manual (Handbook) on our website which is a step by step guide how to respond to a South African Tender.  It includes examples of completed SBD forms.

Title Closing Date Tender No.
Appointment of a QCTO registered Qualification Development Facilitators (QDF) for the reviewing of the occupational qualification Insurance Administration: Claims Assessor NQF Level 4 (99668). 2020-03-02 11:00 RFQ/2020/24
Request for Proposals for the Establishment of Panel of Service Providers for the Learning and Development Content Design and Development Services 2020-03-24 12:00 COR6355/2020/RFP
Appointment of architecture as principal agent for the repair and reinstatement of SABC Studio 6 building structure for period of two years. 2020-03-24 12:00 RFP/LOG/2020/4
The provision of armed guarding security services at Pilansberg Nature Reserve 2020-03-18 11:00 NWPB/RFT/PNPSEC/020/2020
Physical Security Improvement Beitbridge POP 2020-03-11 12:00 RFQ 6547
Rehabilitation, renovation and refurbishment of Inkululeko Yesizwe Primary School 2020-03-20 11:00 DID30/ 02/ 2020
Demolish and construction of the Dr. W.K Du-Plessis LSEN School 2020-03-23 11:00 DID31/ 02/ 2020
Refurbishment of Learskool Frikkie Meyer 2020-03-19 11:00 DID32/ 02/ 2020
Siloam hospital - Construction of new district hospital 2020-03-27 11:00 NDOHF 12/ 2019- 2020
Re-building of burnt down storage shelter for farm material 2020-03-21 11:00 ARC/ 14/ 09/ 19 (Re- advertise)
Bid for the Appointment of a Service Provider for the Provision of Cloud Hosting Platform to host The Department Of Employment and Labour`S Sap S4 Hana Roadmap Landscape and Support for the period of thirty six (36)months 2020-03-20 11:00 BID LAB 10/ 2019
Appointment of a Security Company to Provide Security in Kimberley for a period of 3 years 2020-03-13 11:00 DEDaT 0007/ 2019
The RAF hereby invites experienced and suitable service provider to provide Fleet Management for the Road Accident Fund for a period of five (5) years. 2020-03-13 11:00 RAF/ 2020/ 00003
Appointment of a Service Provider for the Karoo Walking Trails Signage and Mapping 2020-03-13 11:00 DEDaT 0005/ 2019
Appointment of a Service Provider to Develop The Mountain Bike Trails For Mcgregor Musuem in the Northern Cape 2020-03-13 11:00 DEDaT 0006/ 2019
Provision of Open Source Learner Management Service for a period of 36 Months 2020-03-06 11:00 NEMISA/ 2019/ LMSRFB010
The Appointment of a service provider to conduct a feasibility study towards the development of a monumental flag and flag pole. 2020-03-13 11:00 DAC 14/ 19- 20
Appointment of service provider to supply and deliver 5 ton truck for Clanso Farmer Production Support Unit (FPSU) located in ward 18,24,27, and 28 in the Umhlathuze Local Municipality within King Cetshwayo District Municipality in the province of Kwazulu-Natal 2020-03-12 11:00 SS- KZN 7/ 1/ 6/ 3 (753) 3T
Appointment of an HR consultancy firm to provide support to the CETA Administrator 2020-03-06 11:00 016- 2019/ 2020
Procurement of alternative accommodation for the Department of Public Enterprises (lettable office space of 12 144.34sqm and 228 parking bays for a period of 5 years) in Pretoria CBD, Arcadia, Hatfield 2020-03-13 11:00 H19/ 015PF


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