E-tenders: not available
  • Government's e-tender website has been down for weeks, with little detail on why, or when it may be operational again.
  • The etenders.treasury.gov site was described as key to price effective and transparent procurement – with the promise that money saved could go to education and health services.
  • It turns six years old this week.
  • A server crash caused data corruption, Treasury said – in March.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A government website once described as a key step towards broader e-procurement remains down, weeks after a server crash.

As of Wednesday the Treasury e-tenders site, at etenders.treasury.gov.za, continued to display a curt notice that it is "experiencing some technical challenges". Those who wish to do business with government are advised to "to visit websites of Organs of State for advertised bids".

There are several hundred such organs of state, many of which do not operate particularly functional websites of their own.

The site is intended to be a central repository for all tenders issued by national, provincial, and local governments, as well as state-owned enterprises.

At its launch, exactly six years ago this week, Treasury said the site would "directly contribute to reducing duplication, fragmentation and inefficiency in government tender publications."

In its 2015/2016 annual report, the department went further.

"The eTender [system] will improve transparency and save costs for government. As these savings are realised, new resources could then be allocated for core public services such as education and health," it said at the time.

The site stopped functioning in March, and was non-responsive for days before it was replaced by the notice that it was down.

"The ICT server infrastructure that hosts the eTender portal suffered a crash caused by technical failures," Treasury said in response to questions from Business Insider South Africa. "This resulted in data corruption leading to unavailability of the site."

"We are unable to provide a fixed date, but the technical teams are working on alternative solutions."

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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