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Durban - The ANC-led eThekwini Municipality rejected a request by the DA on Wednesday to allow the public to observe proceedings of its Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC), which considers and approves tender submissions.
The DA called for an amendment to supply chain management (SCM) policy to allow for the public to be included in proceedings.
This would enable greater transparency and help reduce tender corruption, said DA councillor Warwick Chapman.
“I wish to emphasise the requirement that our SCM system must be transparent. The bid adjudication is the engine room of our SCM process in eThekwini,” he said.
Chapman said the fact that the bid committee had the most influence over the awarding of procurement contracts by the municipality made it vulnerable to corruption.
“An open and transparent BAC will ensure that awards are made in an equitable manner, and the accounting officer is immediately notified of uncompetitive or wasteful awards.”
The councillor said the only reason that his call would not be supported would be if officials were “personally benefiting from the present closed process, or are seeking to in future”.
He said the public had a right to see what was happening to their money.
ANC councillor Fawzia Peer said that while opening the committee to the public would promote transparency, they (the public) did not have any discretion in the process.
“We see no need for the public to be at these meetings,” she said. Peer said, if public, the meetings would be attended by people of interest. They would have direct contact with officials and this may promote fraud and corruption.
“So we really need to look at the positives as well as the negatives.”
A vote on the motion went against the DA.