On 3 May 2018, Selvan Govender, CEO of the Purchasing Consortium Southern Africa NPC (PURCO SA), handed over a cheque of R1.2 million to the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Unisa, Professor Mandla Makhanya. The money is part of the total cost savings realised by members of the consortium in 2017 through better procurement contracts.
The VC was pleased to receive the donation on behalf of the university, which he said could not have come at a better time as Unisa, like other higher education (HE) institutions, was facing student-funding challenges. In receiving the cheque, he stated that Unisa had started to put structures in place in anticipation of the announcement about fee-free higher education that had been made at the beginning of the year.
“With the new mode of operation at universities,” he said, “Unisa took the bold step of enrolling more students into the system with the hope that there will be money coming in, so this is a highly appreciated donation that comes at a good time for the institution.”
Unisa along with other HE and allied institutions in the country had made cost savings based on 2017 procurement activities. This, according to Govender, proves that the savings had made the HE sector aware of the fact that collaboration was effective in supply chain management.
Govender further stated: “Big savings of R178 million have been made by the sector and PURCO SA is giving R23 million of that back to universities and other members of the consortium. The procurement collaboration spend by members of the consortium is estimated to be in the region of R1.5 billion annually, after taking into consideration the decrease in spend and revenues through insourcing of traditionally outsourced services such as cleaning, catering, security, and gardening and landscaping.”
He said many universities were now embracing the concept of collaboration, which he believes will aid transformation and strengthen them financially in the future.
*By Busisiwe Mahlangu