Reforming Emergency Procurement to Protect against Corrupt Decision-Making while Ensuring Swift and Unencumbered Procurement
AbstractProcuring officials are afforded greater discretion when it comes to carrying out procurement during emergencies. As such, they have more freedom to deviate from standard procurement practices. Under the current South African procurement framework, it appears to be that little is done to ensure that such discretion is not exercised in a fraudulent or corrupt manner. Such an anti-corruption objective remains important in public procurement, even during emergencies. The prevalence of corruption in procurement undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic provides unfortunate evidence of such a need. However, emergencies also demand a swift ability to procure goods and services. In this article I discuss the potential of utilising guidelines to limit the discretion granted to procuring officials; oversight throughout emergency procurement, and centralised procurement as a means through which an anti-corruption objective can be introduced into emergency procurement. The ability of each of these suggestions to serve as an effective anti-corruption mechanism is analysed alongside their ability to ensure swift procurement without unnecessary impediment.
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