The current barriers to clean governance faced by Free State province will be at the top of the agenda at the Smart Procurement World conference on 19 and 20 March.

A partnership between the Free State Department of Economic Small Business, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) and Smart Procurement World, the conference is set to stimulate conversation around how the province can ensure that politicians stay out of procurement while concurrently providing procurement professionals with a mandate to influence the region.

Contentious issue of fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure by government has been exposed far and wide over recent months in South Africa. Credit: Creative Commons

Debbie Tagg, COO for Smart Procurement World, says that the contentious issue of fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure and the closing of the gap on audit findings, will no doubt prove to be a popular conference session.

“Our speaker list is a veritable ‘who’s who?’ of procurement specialists from both the private and public sectors. We have no doubt that their sessions will be extremely impactful and provide the delegates with much food for thought.”

Tagg says that the organisers are thrilled to have secured, among others, Kganki Matabane of the Black Business Council; Songexzo Mabece from the Competition Commission of SA; Skhumbuzo Mgobhozi of the Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Rodney Moolman from the Western Cape Provincial Government; Gregory Mofokeng from the Black Business Council in the Built Environment; and Dr Allison Anthony from the Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence.

The conference, which will be held at PACOF’s facilities in Bloemfontein, will demonstrate how organisations can move from conformance to performance. “Sharing a number of personal success stories in the context of procurement at a provincial level, the speakers will encourage audience participation in a drive to provide workable solutions,” says Tagg.

Deonne Kerr, CEO of Siyakha, who will address BBE deals at the event, believes that most BEE policies are fundamentally sound. “I believe that if your advisers structured it, your auditors signed it off, your board approved it and your shareholders gave it a thumbs up, then BEE is not to blame for poorly constructed ownership deals that do not hold value for the parties and / or that don’t ultimately achieve the objectives of empowerment.”

In the session on policy versus impact, the debate will cover the impact of the amended Construction Sector Codes, in terms of a new disqualifier for Built Environment Professionals which stipulates that only 50.1% of black ownership would count for business.

“The debate will deliberate on how feasible this is in the everyday business environment and what the ripple effects will be. One question is ‘Are policymakers focusing more on ownership than they are on impact?’ ” says Tagg.

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