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Public procurement system challenges at selected higher education institutions in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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Over the last decade in South Africa, public procurement has evolved significantly and attracted much scholarly research interest. There are challenges that exist in public procurement from provincial to national levels, these challenges are a combination of various areas of concern in the public sector. The researcher has unpacked these challenges into clear study constructs. The key procurement challenges resonate with the quality of PEOPLE, PROCESS and TECHNOLOGY amassed by the individual higher education institutions. In this study three higher education institutions were selected. The procurement policies and principles that entrench the higher education institutions (HEIs) in terms of delivering high levels of service and maintaining financially viable institution. Universities as institutions of higher learning have a mandate in ensuring that efficient and effective public procurement occurs at all levels. Against this backdrop, this study explored and identified the public procurement challenges at higher education institutions in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The procurement system in these institutions exposed a gap on qualified and capable talent, in accord processes and the dearth of adoption emerging technology to achieve efficiency and effectiveness of procurement systems. The findings of study revealed the challenges, inefficiencies and technological barriers in the procurement systems. To model a financially and operationally feasible, 4 IR technological driven procurement system, a conceptual model was created with an agile and resilient procurement system's potential in consideration, with a focus on building adaptability and demand responsiveness. The main aim of this study is to identify the public procurement challenges of the selected HEIs and to detail the public procurement system by focusing on the main constructs of the study: people, process and technology. This study made use of an exploratory and descriptive qualitative research approach. The research setting will be the campuses of the selected HEIs. The gathering of primary data via semi-structured in-depth interviews were collected. A sample size of thirty procurement employees and management of the three HEIs were interviewed. Thematic analysis was used as the data analysis technique. The qualitative data was analysed and processed by NVivo.20 software.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.