20 February 2015
By amending laws and policies, the government had already set in motion plans to dismantle cartels and monopolies by industrialising the economy, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday in his response to the two-day debate on his State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“Inequality is still staring us in the face. Census 2011 informed us that the income of households has hardly changed and that income of white households is still six times more than that of black households,” he said.
He also said that the black majority of South Africans only owned three percent of the JSE, pointing to the need to move swiftly to economic emancipation.
“We have called for radical transformation. By this we mean actions such as the industrialisation of the economy, boosting and expanding agriculture and manufacturing and adding value to South Africa’s mineral wealth in order to open up opportunities for economic participation for more people and create jobs,” he said.
He said through the amendment of several laws, regulations and policies, government has already set in motion plans to dismantle cartels and monopolies by industrialising the economy.
“The Competition Commission has already taken action against many companies for collusion and corruption, he said. “Economic transformation to unlock growth also means improving the support provided to small enterprises especially township and rural enterprises which will promote economic activities at local level.”
The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (B-BBEE) was proclaimed into law in October 2014. The regulations to give effect to the Act were being finalised, Zuma said.
“A B-BBEE commission is to be approved this year to oversee the overall implementation of B-BBEE, and ensure effective reporting and monitoring.”
Zuma said a programme to create and support black industrialists over three years had been launched in November 2014.
In his response to COPE leader Terror Lekota who had raised concerns over supply chain management in government, Zuma said action was been taken to “prevent the fruitless and futile expenditure, corruption and other problems …
“Government buys goods, services and infrastructure worth roughly R500-billion a year. Often, we pay the highest prices and one part of government does not know how much the other part of government pays for goods and services. The bulk of negative audit opinions arise from potentially avoidable procurement violations,” he said.
He said the Chief Procurement Office had been established and would become operational this year. The office would be led by Kenneth Brown, an experienced National Treasury official.
Centralised supplier database
Zuma said that all public-service tenders would be posted on an electronic Tender Portal, which would be freely accessible. “This will give small businesses an advantage compared to the current system where they have to pay more money for administrative costs in order to obtain hard copies of tender documents,” he said.
A centralised supplier database will also be phased in from April. “Once fully functional, this will replace the 600 or so supplier databases that currently exists.”
Zuma said the system would offer a quick and more effective mechanism for verifying supplier information such as their BEE status and tax certificates, among others.
“Where deemed necessary, we will consider amending existing legal and regulatory frameworks to accomplish this goal,” he said.