The amended Plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement, aimed at liberalising and increasing transparency in procurement markets, was signed by 42 countries in March 2012. South Africa has not been open to GPA because of the preferential procurement policy envisaged in its Constitution. This article discusses the characteristics of South African procurement markets and analyses the pros and cons of South Africa accessing the Agreement. The author argues that while increased contestability can lead to better value for money, this can be achieved without completely overriding the use of government procurement as a policy tool to promote local industry and poor sections of society. The article further discusses how the GPA clauses can be exploited to ensure that South African domestic industry is given the time and encouragement to become competitive internationally.

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