1. This Ministry would like to refer to an article in the Weekendpost dated 10-16 September 2022 titled, ‘New PPADB’ rules making the rich richer and poor poorer’. The article contains some inaccuracies and untruths, which may mislead the public if left unattended hence, the Ministry of Finance wishes to clarify certain points raised by the WeekendPost.
I). A Tribunal was established as per the new Public Procurement Act which took over some of the responsibilities previously performed by the Independent Complaints Review Committee (ICRC) under the old Act; and
Ii). The ICRC had rules governing the logging of complaints which included a non refundable logging fee of P500 and a complain fee of 1% of disputed tender regardless of the amount.
3. In an effort to reduce the burden on the Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), the Tribunal recently adopted a revised fees for a different categories which are as follows;
a). For a complaint below P10 million, a complainant pays a refundable 0.5% of the total amount of the disputed tender,
b). For a tender between P10 million and P50 million, a complainant pays a refundable 0.75% of the total amount of the disputed tender, and
c). For tenders above P50 million, the complainant pays a refundable 1% of the total amount of the disputed tender.
4. The main objective of the revised fees was to reduce the burden on SMMEs by charging a lower and graduated fee starting from 0.5% to 1%, as opposed to the previous complaint fee structure which was 1% flat regardless of the amount disputed tender.
5. The other objective was to reduce complains processing time thus improving efficiency, and turnaround times for procurement, which could otherwise delay service delivery. In addition, this was meant to discourage the frivolous or vexatious complaints. Furthermore, should the complainant be successful at the Tribunal, he/she will be refunded the complaint fee paid but not the lodging fee;
6. Under the new law, a complaint is first lodged with the Accounting Officer (AO) and only when the complainant is unsatisfied with the decision of the AO, can they appeal to the Public Procurement Tribunal. This administrative process has to be exhausted first before approaching courts of laws. For the success of any complaint lodged with the AO, the complainant should be able to provide the necessary facts to allow the AO to make necessary and appropriate decision at administrative stage, which is free from any charge.