A PUBLIC Service Commission investigation into government contracts of under R200000 shows that officials are failing to follow proper financial procedures, leaving the state wide open to corruption.
The report was released quietly in Parliament last Friday.
It is understood that the Cabinet saw the report as the "tipping point", resolving to form the new anti-corruption ministerial team after reading it.
With government buying up to R80billion worth of goods and services from the private sector every year, the possibilities of "collusion, fraud and bribery" are wide open - unless officials follow financial procedures very strictly.
The PSC investigated 1679 transactions by the national and provincial departments of public works and human settlements between September 2007 and October 2008.
Investigators found that much of the time the government did not follow its own rule of issuing written requests for three written quotations for any purchase above R10000.
The national Human Settlements Department only bothered to collect three quotes 40 percent of the time. In Western Cape officials only followed procedures 42 percent of the time, while in Gauteng, quotes were only collected 19 percent of the time.
In 46 percent of cases where quotes were received, but the lowest quotation not considered, the PSC could find no motivation for this decision.
The PSC also discovered that officials were verbally asking private companies for quotations - instead of asking them in writing - meaning that officials could "favour a service provider by providing incorrect information to competing service providers", said PSC chairperson at the time of the investigation, StanSangweni.
Sangweni said the government was also left open to "kickback schemes" and to situations where officials "irregularly direct orders to a business entity in which a government official has a vested interest".
"These shortcomings make the procurement process highly susceptible to the risks of maladministration, fraud and corruption," Sangweni said.