The Chief Procurement Officer
Kenneth Brown was appointed in February 2013 as South Africa’s first Chief Procurement Officer. Mr Brown vacated the position in December 2016. Mr Willie Mathebula is currently the Acting Chief Procurement Officer.
Background on the Public Procurement
Annually, the South African government is the largest buyer in the country as it spends over R500 billion on goods, services and construction works through over 1000 procuring entities. This is an enormous amount of money. Wisely and efficiently spent, it can be a great force for good. It can ensure that those in need receive services, that infrastructure like roads and ports are built and maintained, that schools are well-equipped and that health services are widely available. It can also spread wealth to hard-working entrepreneurs who successfully tender for government contracts and, in doing so, create jobs. Even those not directly involved in public procurement can benefit, as suppliers to government source their supplies and materials from manufacturers, farmers and many others.
It is well known that public procurement in South Africa at present is far from perfect. There are constant references in the media to corruption and inefficiency. Service delivery protests are a sign that people feel that they are not receiving the quantity or quality of services they need. Schools sometimes open for the starting year without books. An efficient and intelligent public procurement system can help to overcome these problems. The vision is one of a public procurement system in South Africa which is made up of people with the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm needed to ensure that every decision that they make is well-informed and appropriate; who have the technical and organisational support to carry out this important work supported by the country’s Constitution, laws and regulations.
The Office of the Chief Procurement Officer commenced with modernising and overseeing the South African public procurement ystem to ensure that the procurement of goods, services and construction works is conducted in a fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective in line with the Constitution and all relevant legislation. The Office is not directly involved in procurement, but manages procurement reforms, maintains the procurement system and oversees the way in which government does business with the private sector.