Two weeks ago I tabled a private members bill – Eastern Cape Businesses Interests of Employees Procurement Bill.
For a copy of the draft Bill click here:
For a copy of the letter to the Speaker, click here:
For a copy of the objectives of the draft Bill, click here:
The aim of this Bill is to restrict the business interest of employees of the provincial government and of provincial public entities conducting business with the province.
I have introduced this Bill because I believe that civil servants employed by the province should not be doing business with the province. There is a complete conflict of interest in this regard. The former Superintendent-General of Education, prof. Harry Nengwekhulu, a few months ago stated that 90% of the senior management of that department was trading with the province and the department was rotten to the core.
Both Health and Education who deal with over 70% of the provincial budget do not have adequate systems in place to manage their procurement processes properly. This is why they continue to get disclaimers year after year. In this province we cannot afford to waste one cent on any form of tender irregularity, overpricing or corruption.
Earlier this year it was exposed that the province was paying exorbitant prices for items.
The capital and goods and service expenditure in the province exceeds R13 billion this year. One can imagine if only 10% of this is lost to overpricing what the damage is to the province. If 20% of this is lost through overpricing, maladministration and corruption this amounts to more that the annual budgets of most departments.
At a public debate on the budget held earlier this year at Fort Hare University which was addressed by the MEC for Finance, Mcibisi Jonas, there was consensus that there needs to be tender reform. At the recent Scopa conference in Durban, the plenary session approved a motion that Scopa would actively campaign for the barring a civil servants and politicians doing business with the state.
Currently only senior managers employed by government have a duty to disclose any such business interests. No similar duties are placed on other employees.
The Private Members Bill provides that any entity that does business with the province must provide an affidavit disclosing any business interest that an employee or family member of that employee has in that entity.
Conversely, an employee must disclose to the provincial government any business interest that an employee or any family member of that employee has in any entity conducting business with the province.
An employee may not have business interests in any entity conducting business with the province if that employee directly or indirectly owns or controls more than 5% of the shares, stock, members or other interest of that entity.
Any employee wanting to do business with the province will have to make an application to the relevant MEC and give good reasons why they should be allowed to trade with the province if their business interest exceed the 5% limit.
In terms of the procedures of the Legislature this has been sent to the Speaker’s office to be processed.
The Democratic Alliance has introduced similar legislation in the Western Cape.