Tender irregularities were hampering infrastructure development, the Built Environment Professions Grouping (BEP) said.

The group also voiced concerns about infrastructure bottlenecks or lack of infrastructure delivery and inadequacies in mechanisms to procure their professional services.

In a statement released by Consulting Engineers SA (Cesa), the BEP said it welcomed the government’s revised infrastructure budget in terms of the 18 strategic integrated projects as a positive move, but argued that the barrier to infrastructure delivery lay in the lack of transparency during procurement processes related to the allocation of professional services and tenders.

“This manifests itself in the form of obscure decision-making processes and unequal distribution of professional services, bolstered by a high potential for corruption coupled with weak accountability mechanisms and lack of scrutiny over allocation of public funds,” it said.

The BEP believed greater transparency in the procurement cycle was one of the key mechanisms to curb corruption. It urged that construction contracts that were awarded should be openly published, which would also increase accountability among infrastructure stakeholders.

The group also believed the government should include a compulsory evaluation and monitoring unit tasked to, among other things, ensure that professionals and departments complied with legislation and with offers made during the bid stage regarding skills and skills transfer.

The BEP said professional service providers should be appointed based on a best weighting for price, quality and preference, and called for a review of the scoring system for procurement.

The group believed that the rules dictating the procurement of general goods and services should be amended to include a specific section dealing with the procurement of professional services.

It was vital that the government and the BEP worked together to create a conducive, sustainable, non-exclusive procurement environment with definitive transformation objectives to ensure efficient project service delivery plus the sustainable development and growth of the built environment industry.

The members of the BEP grouping are the Association of Construction Health and Safety Management, Association of Construction Project Managers, Association of SA Quantity Surveyors, Cesa, Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa, SA Black Technical & Allied Careers Organisation and SA Institute of Architects. – Roy Cokayne