The revised preferential procurement regulations, which are intended to give increased state support to small, medium and micro businesses (SMMEs) take effect on April 1. The regulations stipulate that 30% of appropriate categories of state procurement must be set aside for SMMEs and co-operatives, as well as township and rural enterprises. The revised regulations will also allow government departments and their entities to introduce pre-qualification criteria in their tenders to advance historically disadvantaged groups by limiting competition to being only among themselves. Such criteria could include stipulating that certain tenders are only open to entities with a particular broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) status level; exempted micro enterprises; or qualifying small-business enterprises. Tenders could also be restricted to those who undertake to sub-contract a minimum specified percentage of the contract to businesses that are, for example, 51% black-owned or ow...

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