To enact a comprehensive body of rules to regulate public procurement is only one
element in fostering compliance with the norms and objectives of a sound public
procurement programme. The development of a sound legal framework is a core
element in the modernisation and improvement of public procurement systems.
The task of government institutions is to achieve the policy objectives which have been
set by the government for societal life. As public policy-maker, the government strives to
establish a generally preferred future for society. Any deliberations by the policy-maker on
the establishment and realisation of such a preferred future should, of necessity, include,
interalia, the setting of standards and respect for the administrative legal framework to
guide functionaries in government institutions on how to execute policy.
The essence of public procurement legislation is to define and enforce those procedures
that will deliver a productive and efficient result, while respecting the public nature of the
process and the duty of fairness to the suppliers. Government institutions are not usually
established with a view to profit-making, with the consequence, the objectives of their
procurement function will differ considerably from the objectives of an establishment
in the private sector.
In this article, the legislative and administrative directives which impact and govern
the procurement system in South Africa will be discussed. The article will conclude with
recommendations based on an empirical survey to establish attitudes towards public
procurement policies with specific reference to the local sphere of government.