Open and effective competition when bidding
If one looks at the General Procurement Guidelines that National Treasury issued to Government Departments, it is clear that Government wants the tender process to be fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective exactly as Section 217 of the Constitution of South Africa requires. The Guidelines were issued by the Government as a prescription for standards of behavior, ethics and accountability which it requires of its public service as well as a statement of the Government's commitment to a procurement system, enabling the emergence of SMME’s.
The core principles of the procurement process in South Africa are:
- Value for money
- Open and Effective competition
- Ethics and Fair Dealing
- Accountability and Reporting
The one we want to focus on is Paragraph 2 of the General Procurement Guidelines namely “Open and Effective Competition”. This means that everybody must have the same chance to respond to a request for a bid. These Guidelines are clear and it states inter alia that: “Departments need to apply effort and research to get the best possible outcome from the market by ensuring that:
- potential suppliers have reasonable access to procurement opportunities and that available opportunities are notified in the Government Tender Bulletin;
- where market circumstances limit competition, departments recognize that fact and make use of alternate procurement methods
- adequate and timely information is provided to suppliers to enable them to bid;
- bias and favoritism are eliminated;
- the costs of bidding for opportunities do not deter competent suppliers; and
- costs incurred in promoting competition are at least equal with the benefits received.”
In a nutshell, what the above points mean, is that Government Entities must advertise their requests for quotations and bids in such a manner that the reasonable business owner will be able to respond to the request. Should you come across a request for a bid that was not properly advertised you might want to highlight that specific Government Entity about paragraph 2 in the General Procurement Guidelines. It is our duty to make sure these Guidelines are followed.
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