The 12th annual Smart Procurement World Indaba highlighted a number of key issues within the South African supply chain sector. Two of these ‑ driving economic development and transformation through supply chain incorporation; and capacity building and supply chain competence ‑ underlined the need for a complete stakeholder partnership.

"With regard to the former issue, we need to address the gap in the market for accessing and facilitating the connection between supply chain and small business. We should also be addressing the knowledge gap and understanding of small business and how one should engage the supply chain and meet their requirements. Furthermore, there needs to be a reduction in the occurrence of 'tenderpreneurship' and of the reliance of small businesses on just one large government or corporate contract," says Mediacy Mudekwa, head of content for Smart Procurement World.

With regard to capacity building and supply chain competence for supply chain management in the public and private sectors, Mudekwa says that there is a need to both reduce wasteful expenditure and corruption, and concurrently increase procurement efficiency as a result of enhanced service delivery.

Mudekwa explains that it is important for the sustainability of the supply chain and procurement sectors that a collaborative supply chain partnership comprising public and private sector, Government policy support, small businesses and small business support organisations, be developed as a matter of priority.

"Achieving this is not without its challenges as was apparent in the session presented by Miyelani Maluleke, Macro Economist: South African Research at Absa. He highlighted that while there is optimism about political change, economic challenges persist and that SA's rating fortunes still maintain a negative outlook. The key is to maintain open lines of communication and see these relationships as opportunities rather than as threats," says Mudekwa.

The Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance, Mondli Gungubele says: "Harmony is key to the success and sustainability of both South Africa and its business environment. Democracy must be healthy; humanity must be the supreme determinant and should transcend both culture and gender. Prosperity will be guaranteed when these things are in place.

"The three Cs ‑ consistency, coherence and continuity ‑ come into play in the procurement process and trust becomes the anchor of the organisation. Furthermore, competency, systems and leadership should be key determinants within the award of tenders or job positions, rather than them being contingent upon the political party you belong to. We need to liberate ourselves from this misconception in order to build the South African civil service, and procurement is at the centre of this. Tender awards should be based on whether they meet the stipulated specifications, and should not be open to dispute after they have been awarded because it is suddenly realised that they do not meet these specifications. Assessments should therefore be based on the ability of the tenderer to meet the requirements," he adds.

Debbie Tagg, CEO of Smart Procurement World, says that the Smart Procurement World Indaba is designed around moving SMMEs from being beneficiaries to being beneficial suppliers. "We are thrilled that Government is recognising the importance of Smart Procurement World Indaba and the issues we openly tackle. We have gained the support of the National Treasury, the Provincial Treasury and our host city ‑ City of Johannesburg. In terms of the private sector, Absa Bank has generously assisted with funding and has created extensive market interest in the event."

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