How long does the tender process take?

10 steps in the bid process

Each year, Organs of State invite the Private Sector to submit competitive bids for the supply of goods and services. Organs of State bid requests attract SMME’s and large businesses across a wide range of sectors – from office supplies to major construction projects.

Here is an overview of 10 steps you should take to prepare a competitive bid.

1.    Register your interest

Follow the instructions in the bid document to register your interest with the purchasing agency. This important step will help keep you up to date on any bid information sessions.

2.    Attend briefing sessions

If you registered through a bid website, monitor the website for updates about bids. Attend any bid briefing sessions offered. These are valuable opportunities to ask questions and make contact with Organs of State. They may also give you a chance to meet potential subcontractors or make contacts that could participate in a consortium. Organs of State are also usually under no obligation to otherwise make available copies of information, presentations, etc., that may be given at a briefing sessions.

3.    Develop your bid response strategy

If you are bidding for a high-value bid, plan your bid carefully and consider the requirements and resources involved. For example, ask yourself:

a.    How much will it cost to prepare the bid?

b.    What information do we need to gather?

c.    What resources will we need to fulfil the contract?

d.    Who will manage the bid project?

e.    How will we plan the workload, assign the work required, schedule the meetings?

f.    Who is our competition and what are our chances of winning?

g.    What is our plan for marketing our products and services and pitching our business?

4.    Review recent awarded contracts

If you are unclear about any requirements in the bid request, contact the bid coordinator to seek clarification. What type of companies won similar bids in the past? What does the contracting Organ of State look for? What can you do to match their expectations?

5.    Write a compelling bid

Prepare your bid response. This includes planning, drafting and refining it. Make sure that you use the response forms provided and answer all questions. Stick to any word/page limits that there may be, and (as a general rule) do not go altering things like fonts and font sizes and numbering unless expressly permitted. Be clear about your structure and propositions. Decide on several key propositions you can use to set your bid apart from others. Review the evaluation criteria to gain a better understanding of what things the government agency is particularly looking for and will be evaluating your offer against. If you are not a strong writer, think about engaging a professional (a range of businesses offer bid writing services).

6.    Understand the payment terms

When putting together your bid response, make sure you are aware of the payment schedule specified. Organ of State payment schedules will vary from entity to entity and procurement to procurement. You may not get paid as soon as the job is finished or goods are delivered. If you require payment different to that specified, you should detail this in your offer.

7.    Provide References

Provide References who know your business and can attest to your work.

Give your References clear information about the bid request so they know what points to emphasise in their reference. If you have previously supplied goods or services to an Organ of State, ask them for a reference.

8.    Check and submit your bid

Make sure you check your proposal carefully before submitting it. Use a checklist to make sure your bid meets all the requirements (some bids will include a checklist that you can also use).

9.    Present your bid

Bid panels responsible for high-value contracts may request a formal presentation from bidders. If you need to present your offer to an evaluation panel, stay focused on the key messages in your proposal. Most importantly, prepare. Plan your presentation carefully, rehearse and, if you don’t feel you’re a strong presenter, get some coaching in presentation skills.

10.    Request a debriefing

You can request a debriefing on the bid after the process, especially if your bid is unsuccessful. Feedback from the evaluation committee can be extremely useful in understanding how your offering can be improved and can assist you in preparing for your next bid. Look for ways to improve your next bid.


Overview of Public Universities in South Africa

Here's an overview of some public universities in South Africa, including general admissions requirements and estimated application periods. Keep in mind, specific program requirements and dates can vary significantly, so it's important to check each university's official website for the most current information.

University of Pretoria

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with minimum scores in specific subjects related to the chosen program; for international students, equivalent qualifications.
  • Application Period: Usually opens in March and closes at the end of July for most programs.

University of Cape Town

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with pass levels required for degree study; subject-specific requirements depending on the program.
  • Application Period: Application opens in April and closes at the end of July.

Stellenbosch University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required marks; some programs have additional testing.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and typically closes at the end of June.

University of the Witwatersrand

  • Admissions Requirements: Matriculation certificate with university exemption; required scores vary by faculty.
  • Application Period: Begins in March and ends on the 30th of September.

University of Johannesburg

  • Admissions Requirements: Matric exemption with a minimum APS score; specific subject requirements based on the faculty.
  • Application Period: Opens in April and generally closes by the 30th of September.

University of the Free State

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific marks for the program applied to; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Typically opens in April and closes at the end of August.

University of Venda

  • Admissions Requirements: Completion of the National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for diploma or degree studies; specific APS scores needed.
  • Application Period: Usually from May to September.

University of Fort Hare

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; certain programs may have specific requirements.
  • Application Period: Opens around May and closes at the end of September.

University of the Western Cape

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific performance levels; additional requirements for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Generally from May to September.

North-West University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; program-specific requirements may apply.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and usually closes by the end of August.

Rhodes University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate or equivalent; minimum academic performance in certain subjects.
  • Application Period: Applications open in April and close at the end of September.

Nelson Mandela University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; portfolio or additional tests for some faculties.
  • Application Period: Opens in April, with a deadline at the end of August for most programs.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Opens in May and typically closes by the end of September.

University of Limpopo

  • Admissions Requirements: Senior Certificate with endorsement for diploma or degree courses; specific APS scores for different programs.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

University of Zululand

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for bachelor’s degree studies; specific score requirements for various programs.
  • Application Period: Usually between April and November.

Central University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores for the chosen field of study; additional criteria for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Application period generally starts in May and ends in October.

Vaal University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with a pass that qualifies for admission to bachelor’s degree, diploma, or higher certificate programs.
  • Application Period: Typically from May to September.

Walter Sisulu University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; additional criteria for certain faculties.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

This list provides a starting point for understanding the admissions landscape across South Africa's diverse higher education institutions. Given the variability in programs and requirements, it's crucial to consult each university's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.