KZN tackles fraud and corruption

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Smiso Magagula Independent Newspapers KwaZulu-Natals MEC for Finance, Ina Cronj�, second from right, had a tough job cutting costs in government departments. Here she is congratulated on trimming the fat by Treasury boss Smiso Magagula, left, Premier Zweli Mkhize and the acting general manager of finance, Tanya Stielau.

Durban -

A new, hi-tech procurement system will be implemented across KwaZulu-Natal government departments from next month as part of efforts to cut down on corruption and fraud in the supply chain management system.

The

head of the provincial Treasury, Smiso Magagula, said supply chain management reforms included an “e-procurement tool”, an electronic system to be implemented in all government departments.

Reforms were promised some years ago by Finance MEC Ina Cronjé, but the implementation of an e-procurement system was delayed because of appeals against the procurement of the electronic system.

“Some rules of the game delay implementation… It was only last week that the appeals process was finalised. In the interim we couldn’t do anything… that is where we got stuck,” said Magagula.

The new system would be a departure from the current BAS (basic accounting system) that the government used.

It would have built-in business intelligence analysis systems to allow anyone to track tenders and how much the government was spending on certain items.

“I should be able to tell you how much we spend annually on stationery, for example,” he said.“ I can tell you how much we pay on salaries, but for any things we procure, I cannot tell you with confidence how much we spend on nappies for hospitals… What kind of treasury cannot tell you that? It is not a useful treasury.”

The e-procurement tool, he said, would also make it harder for officials to tamper with tenders as the tool would allow for the tracking of the whole tender process by anyone. The public would be able to check what tenders were available and then bid for them.

“Because of its transparent nature you are able to eliminate instances where officials change numbers of tenders sent by their buddies outside.”

The programme would also be linked to other databases like that of Sars and would trigger useful information such as that a bidder’s tax certificates had expired.

Once implemented, the Treasury would go on a roadshow to educate citizens about the programme.

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