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An examination of the barriers in the effective use of outsourcing in the public sector.

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The government of South Africa has strived to centralize the procurement of goods and services, to address inefficiencies in the outsourcing of non-core activities in the public sector. This is deemed necessary to improve the efficiency of outsourcing processes in the public sector. Public sector outsourcing has faced various challenges, including unethical practices such as corruption, fraud and price inflation, resulting in inefficiency and increased operational costs. This study examined the barriers facing the outsourcing of functions at the South African Social Security Agency, Umzumbe Local Office. The design of this study was of an exploratory nature and the researcher used a qualitative approach and a non-probability, purposive sampling method. The sample size for the study comprised forty-one employees from the South African Social Service Agency, in Umzumbe Local Office. Primary data was collected via in-depth face-to-face interviews with six senior government officials, and focus group discussions involved thirty-five discussants. The research instrument used for the study was an interview schedule. Data was analysed using content analysis. The findings of the study reveal inefficiency in daily operations, a lack of accountability, poor communication and proper planning, non-compliance with supply chain laws, poor monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and a shortage of capable human resources. As such, the outsourcing of activities in the public sector does not achieve efficiency in its operations. The study recommends the hiring of skilled personnel in the SCM unit, that the department must work closely with law enforcement agencies, and that a consequence management approach be adopted to deal with inefficiency in the procurement unit, unethical practices, non- compliance with SCM laws, and poor monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. The study contributes to the existing body of knowledge on the barriers facing the outsourcing of functions in the public sector.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.