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Examining measures to improve procurement processes in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Treasury Department.

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Public sector procurement operates as a business function of an economic activity within a political system and it is management function carried out by the public servants. It is central to the development of the particular society in which they operate. South African government depends greatly on the procurement process as regulated by a number of legislation in order to attain contracts for the necessary goods and services to maintain, upgrade and advance the public assets. Although there is legislation to guide the procurement with reference to acquisition of goods and services required by the institution, there are still challenges encountered by the public sector procurement. The question thus arises what could be done to improve the public sector procurement processes. The aim of this study was to determine the measures to improve the procurement processes in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Treasury department. The target population is 18 employees consisting of both the senior management and junior officials of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Treasury Department within the Supply Chain Management Unit which is known as the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. There are 18 procurement officials within the unit. Study data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire which was created specifically for this research. Fourteen staff responded to the questionnaire. The study showed that there is a struggle with the procurement system which is heavily paper based and highly open to human error and manipulation. This system causes delays especially when it comes to obtaining signatures for tender documents and awards where the relevant authorities are not available to sign. The study also revealed that as much as the introduction of Central Supplier Database has somehow simplified the procurement process the department still encounters challenges of CSD generating the same service providers when searching, the system keeps service providers that are no longer in a business, it does not update on the inactive suppliers and it does not interface with the payment system. In addition, a shortage of staff within the procurement unit makes it a mammoth task for the unit to provide best quality of work. It is recommended that the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Treasury department should introduce and implement an electronic procurement system which will be compatible to their processes and fast track their processes whilst reducing possible human errors; and the need to fill all the vacant posts to enhance the departments capacity. The study can benefit the department in improving the procurement processes and improving its public service delivery. However, a strong effort is required from the government and its service providers to implement the e-procurement system.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.