Procurement deviations

In Joubert Galpin Searle and Others v Road Accident Fund and Others [2014] 2 All SA 604 (ECP), the High Court made important observations about the circumstances under which deviations from competitive bidding processes may be allowed.

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) used a closed bidding process for the appointment of attorneys to a panel for the provision of litigation services. In other words, it relied on a procurement process that did not entail public, open bidding.

The High Court considered the provisions of Treasury Regulation 16A6.4, various practice notes issued by National Treasury, and the guide for accounting officers. Consequently, it observed that, generally speaking, if a tender exceeded a prescribed amount then a competitive and open procurement process had to be followed.

Deviations from the above norm could only be justified in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances were urgent cases and cases of emergency. Poor planning could not make a case an urgent one or an emergency.

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