The new tender advertising portal from the South African National Treasury is starting to assist potential suppliers, service providers and government at all levels. The portal went live on 1 April 2015 but it took some time for departments to start posting their adverts there. This was refreshing news for all business people who aim to do business with the South African government. The portal is now fully operational and there is no cost attached although the information is still far from complete and you may want to rely on an external notification service in the meantime.
All government departments are currently expected to not only advertise all tenders in the State Tender Bulletin but also on the eTenders portal. We have seen an increase in the number of tenders advertised on the eTenders portal since April. MarketSqr also uses this portal to collect tender information on behalf of our customers. We have found that a large number of tenders still do not get published in this portal, which has been the case with the State Tender Bulletin for years.
The new portal contains tender advertisements or notices but is not a full electronic tender platform. In other words the information is very similar to notices you would receive in a newspaper or tender bulletin. The main difference is that tender documents can also typically be downloaded from the portal at no cost. This is good news for potential tenderers since makes it easier to consider your appetite to respond without any effort or cost. The portal does not allow for electronic tender responses although we may see developments in this direction soon.
You can search for tenders on the eTenders portal on categories of tenders, but not by tender number. This may assist many people sufficiently but it does not send out notifications to potential tenderers for tenders in their individual line of business or of awards or cancellation of tenders. Suppliers have to remember to visit the portal daily to search for relevant tenders. You will also not necessarily see the latest tenders at the top and it does take some digging for the information.
The site makes provision for awarded tenders containing the information of winning bidders as well as other bidders who also ran in the race. A limited number of results are already available there but the majority of tender awards are not captured by departments yet. When fully adopted, this will make a big contribution to improve the perceptions of transparency in the procurement process.
The eTenders portal is a tremendous improvement on the State Tender Bulletin and it will simplify the lives of people looking for tenders. If you are dependent on ensuring you get sight of all the opportunities you will still need someone to focus on searching that site every day, subscribe to all the newspapers, check municipal and other websites daily and read the the 100 odd pages of the State Tender Bulletin every Friday. Alternatively you can subscribe to a tender notification service and get all tenders in your line of business selected and sent to you daily.