Public procurement fulfils an important role in the economy and public expenditure of a country and can be regarded as a critical indicator of the effectiveness of a government, because it is a central aspect of public service delivery. Notwithstanding various reforms made to date to public sector procurement in South Africa and the application of Supply Chain Management as a strategic policy strategic instrument, the South African public procurement system still faces several challenges and has been strongly criticised. This paper aims to understand the current public procurement environment in South Africa, its dilemmas and challenges, and to propose that public procurement be refocused towards a strategically placed business process, implemented by well-trained and competent procurement officials. The purpose is to provide a theoretical foundation as well as practical guidance regarding the role of public procurement in the South African public sector. The methodology involved an intensive literature study and document analysis to evaluate various official policy documents and official publications to determine the status of South African public procurement. The study found that the majority of challenges faced by public procurement in South Africa can probably be attributed to the implementation of the system, rather than to the system itself. In the shorter and longer term, the public procurement system in South Africa will have no choice but to emerge as a stronger, more resilient, streamlined and efficient provider of goods and services for the greater good of all.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited