Technical note

COVID-19 emergency procurement trends, deviations, expansions, and excessive pricing

Daniel Page, David McClelland, Adeola Oyenubi, Grace Bridgman, and Uma Kollamparambil
December 2021

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response by the South African government was consistent with global trends and prompted unprecedented public procurement. Government responses included the application of a staged lockdown as well as large-scale mobilization of procurement measures for emergency and medical services, business support as well as other social incentives.

Given the necessary swift action by provincial and national government, an unfortunate consequence of the pandemic-related procurement was the heightened possibility of illicit and corrupt procurement activities. To date, there have been numerous instances of corrupt COVID-19-related procurement activities being exposed in local media, however the extent of COVID-19-specific corruption has yet to be identified or quantified.

The purpose of this study is to analyse procurement data pre-COVID-19 against the available COVID-19 emergency procurement data to identify possible instances of corruption.