Zuma makes e-tender ads compulsory
As print circulation figures decline, the industry has been dealt a further blow, with president Jacob Zuma announcing all government departments will be compelled to advertise tenders online as of 1 April.
Zuma made the comments during his reply to debate on the 2016 State of the Nation Address, and stated the use of government's tender portal will be compulsory by all departments.
The government e-tender portal was launched last year as a single platform for the publication of tenders, and is aimed at eliminating duplication and fragmentation of notices for government tenders.
According to government, the portal carries tender notices accompanied by official tender documents and relevant terms of reference or other description of functionality, and the publication of award notices.
"Government tenders will thus no longer be advertised in newspapers and this will be another cost saver for government," Zuma said.
He added: "This means all tenders will be advertised in one place and will be accessed free of charge."
Although government advertises on various mediums, including television and radio, the bulk of advertising spend usually goes towards print.
In written replies following questions in the National Assembly last year, the minister of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs broke down advertising spend by three metropolitan municipalities for the 2014/2015 financial year.
According to the cooperative governance ministry, the purpose of the advertisements was for various services such as tender alerts, vacancies, land applications and notices, and special events.
The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality spent R869 385 on print media advertising. The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality submitted that R13 896 504 was spent on print media during the 2014/2015 period, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality spent more than R5 million on adverts in various print publications.
Meanwhile, the Department of Communications (DOC) says although it advertises on various platforms, it spent R1 266 550.94 on advertising in The New Age from 1 April 2014 to 28 February 2015.
The DOC said the adverts were for various campaigns, such as departmental recruitment, the State of the Nation Address, supplier database registration and departmental profiling.
In September last year, National Treasury launched a central supplier database (CSD) to stamp out tender fraud and make procurement more efficient and cost-effective.
According to treasury, the CSD is a consolidated list of all supplier information for national, provincial and local government.
The move to have a CSD for procurement was motivated by the fact that government had supplier information for all the different departments, municipalities and public entities in 600 databases.
A uniform supply chain management system for government is essential to optimise the efficiency of service delivery, said treasury.
The CSD works by interfacing with the South African Revenue Service to verify tax clearance certificates, and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission for business registration and business ownership information. The system verifies supplier information with the register for tender defaulters and database of restricted suppliers.
"Currently there is no single consolidated comprehensive supplier database, and consequently, information related to the compliance requirements is duplicated during procurement processes, the processing of payments, and audit procedures, to name but a few," said treasury.
Suppliers registered on a supplier database of any organ of state will be automatically transferred to the supplier database by 31 March.