South African Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, announced plans for supply chain management reform across the public sector to develop consistent and uniform rules that will help the government obtain better value on public purchases. At the same time, Manuel discussed the need for performance agreements and stricter consequences among public employees.
Public Workers and Government Contracts
Civil servants and their involvement in public contracts is a major concern to Manuel and other Cabinet members. In 2010, South Africa’s Auditor General reported that companies closely associated with state employees won nearly $70 million of the country’s tenders. Public Service and Administration minister Lindiwe Sisulu said, “It is time public servants chose between serving the state and being in private business.” Officials have proposed an amendment to the Public Service Act that will ban all government employees from conducting business with the state, a move that could help improve supply chain transparency.
More Consequences, Better Enforcement
In the past, South African officials did not keep records of allegations against government employees. There are concerns that some workers have changed departments to avoid investigation or disciplinary action. Under the plan, the Public Service and Administration Department will keep a database of all accusations against government workers to prevent other agencies from hiring them. Leaders also plan to create detailed responsibilities and expectations for each position and will dismiss anyone who doesn’t fulfill their duties to the state. “We must raise the consequences for those who do not perform the functions required of them,” Manuel said.
Many are skeptical about the future of South Africa’s reformation. Manuel admits that “it will be a difficult process to overhaul the public service,” but it is what the country needs to move forward. Accountability throughout the sector will positively impact the supply chain, but a boost to internal morale may have greater effects.