Application of value for money assessment in public-private partnerships in the road transport sector : a case of the N4 (East) toll road
Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research was to understand how value for money (‘VfM’), an important decision pillar in public procurement, is applied in South Africa, and compare the VfM regulated framework with other global practices in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. VfM is applied when deciding the most appropriate procurement method that utilises public funds in the most cost effective, equitable and transparent manner. Although VfM is vital in the public sector, it is one of the most misunderstood and controversial procurement aspects. The various actors in public procurement processes tend to complicate this key aspect due to their conflicting objectives in relation to a given project. Chief among these are the political influences on the public managers, which tend to manipulate the procurement choice. Consequently over the years, the VfM assessments performed before selecting a procurement method have not been publicly available, thereby increasing concern on whether VfM is achieved, particularly when involving the private sector through public-private partnership (‘PPP’) arrangements. The study explores the various components of VfM, which are the public sector comparator, risk allocation mechanisms, particularly for the road sector projects, discount rates and post project implementation monitoring systems. More importantly, the research analysed how these various aspects were assessed on procuring the N4 toll road. South African National Road Agency SOC Limited (‘SANRAL’), although it did not have the benefit of a PPP guideline as is the case now, it performed extensive feasibility studies and held a transparent procurement process before selecting the private sector party to the PPP. Interestingly, project that was pre-identified as a PPP procurement model and had political support from both the Mozambique and South African governments from inception in order to make it work. The comparative analysis of the South African PPP framework and the selected global PPP markets revealed that the local VfM guidelines were comparable in most aspects such as the PSC construction and risk management methodologies. However, the South African practices could be further improved with increased transparency incorporated in the procurement process such as the publication of the PPP contract once finalised – a practice common in the developed markets analysed. This will go a long way to increasing acceptance of the PPP procurement model in a market that is tainted with mistrust of same. There is need for the civil servants to be trained on the VfM assessment processes so that such analyses are not limited to PPP-type projects, but to conventionally-procured infrastructure projects for increased accountability and effective use of public funds.