An assessment of Public Private Partnerships as an alternative procurement method : the case of the South African Social Security Agency
Jabavu, Simlindile Wellington
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The use of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) by governments on all continents has been rapidly growing as government departments and their agencies continue to look for improvised means of providing high quality services. In South Africa, the demand for the replacement of the aging government infrastructure has led to the increase in the use of PPPs. The PPPs are not only used for the improvement of roads, but also in the provision of social services and many other services that are traditionally a responsibility of government. Government institutions typically enter into relationships with PPPs to address their needs and to meet specific objectives. It is, therefore, up to these institutions to choose an ideal model of procurement that best addresses their objectives of delivering effective services (Palmer, 2009:Online). Government institutions will, however, only enter into relationship with PPPs if the services can be transferred in a responsible way and if the risks for failure are limited. Inefficiencies in the disbursement of social assistance grants by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has received much attention and criticism from the stakeholders as the company contracted to perform the work on behalf of SASSA continues to provide poor quality services. In assessing a PPP, countries providing social security transfers need to take into consideration a partner that will assist in establishing and implementing the payment design and distribution mechanism that is capable of facilitating the cost effective, reliable and practical delivery of cash to the grant beneficiaries. A comprehensive review of literature and empirical investigation was carried out to respond to the research study’s set objectives. The study explored a wide-ranging survey of PPP projects in developed and developing countries focusing on the use of the PPP model in the South African context with specific reference to the disbursement of social grants by the SASSA. Alternative procurement methodologies in government were also reviewed. An analysis of relevant procurement theories was undertaken to form the basis of the research study. The mini-dissertation explores if there are any advantages for the government, and more specifically the SASSA, in using PPPs as opposed to traditional procurement methods. The study attempts to establish if a private partner can be encouraged to provide long-term investment in terms of expertise; well qualified staff; technology; infrastructure; and creation of an environment conducive for highly effective service delivery where the return on such investment is not guaranteed.