A recent Business Day article headed ‘Treasury overhauls preferential procurement provisions in Bill’ has drawn attention to several apparent misunderstandings about the parliamentary process in media circles.

On 17 November 2023, during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance, National Treasury representatives presented the department’s response to input received from stakeholders in their written submissions and during parliamentary hearings on the Public Procurement Bill.

The department’s response took the form of three documents apparently only circulated to committee members the previous evening. These documents included several proposals, one of which is a revised chapter on preferential procurement.

Following parliamentary hearings on a Bill, it is normal procedure for the department concerned to prepare and present a document summarising its response to the stakeholder input received. The presentation may include proposed amendments. It is then the committee’s responsibility to consider these proposals and decide whether to adopt them – a process that often takes several meetings, depending on the complexity of the amendments being proposed.

It was therefore incorrect to report that Treasury has overhauled the Bill’s preferential procurement provisions. The article’s byline is equally misleading.

National Treasury has simply prepared a revised chapter proposing certain set-aside and related assessment procedures, as well as pre-qualification criteria. It has neither specified nor stipulated them. Should the committee agree to these proposals, the process of revising the Bill will begin – culminating in an ‘A’ list of recommended amendments to be included in the Bill’s ‘B’ version and tabled in the House for a second reading.

Published by SA Legal Academy Policy Watch

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