Thursday, July 18, 2024
Corruption in the construction sector costing SA billions

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille says South Africa had been left littered with unfinished projects because the construction sector was one of the most corrupt in the country.


Graft in the construction sector has cost the state about R10 billion in price-fixing.


The department together with the Special Investigating Unit, launched the Infrastructure Built Anti-Corruption Forum to monitor infrastructure projects more effectively.


De Lille said government had to focus on spending money on detecting and preventing corruption instead of only focusing on repairing the damage later.


“Corruption within the built environment has run rampant for too long. The state has structures in place but government cannot do this work alone and that is why we have brought private sector, public entities and civil society together in this forum so that we can work together on more effective ways to detect, prevent and act against corruption.


“Our people need better roads, hospitals, schools and generally better infrastructure for better services, we need better and more government buildings. We cannot allow the crooks to continue to steal billions meant for infrastructure. People, no matter who they are, cannot be allowed to continue to steal and stifle progress at the expense of the most vulnerable in our country.”


De Lille added that anyone involved in corrupt activities and found guilty of such must face consequences and the full might of the law.


“We must work together to put an end to this scourge because corruption steals from the poor. We also need a clear path to delivering quality infrastructure to create the crowding in effect of more investment by the private sector.”


Adv. Mothibi said that their observation based on the SIU investigations under various proclamations over the years totaling over R10 billion to date is that the construction sector is vulnerable to , amongst others, price fixing, high Construction Industry Development Board grading issued to non-deserving contractors, and issuing of illegal environmental permits for large developers to develop in sensitive environmental areas.


There is also an issue of defrauding the state through usage of substandard construction material to make more profit and facilitation fee/bribery/kickbacks, amongst others.


“The Infrastructure Build Anti-Corruption Forum will galvanise all stakeholders into action and ensure that Infrastructure Built Projects are monitored more effectively and put measures and systems in place to fight against fraud and corruption, identify areas of co-operation to enhance prevention, detection, civil litigation and prosecution of fraud and corruption in the Infrastructure Build Sector,” Mothibi said


ISA has in the last year, upon request, worked with the SIU on some cases, Dr Ramokgopa said: “Infrastructure South Africa has a well-established and good working relationship with the SIU. The official launch of this forum can only cement our working relations further to ensure greater transparency and accountability as we implement the Country’s infrastructure build programme”


The forum is led by the SIU and DPWI and also includes representatives from the following bodies:

  • The National Prosecuting Authority
  • The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation
  • The Financial Intelligence Centre
  • Corruption Watch
  • The Council for the Built Environment
  • Master Builders South Africa
  • South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP)
  • Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA)
  • South African Black Technical & Allied Careers Organisation (multi-disciplinary) (SABTACO)
  • South African Bureau of Standards
  • Business Unity South Africa (BUSA)
  • The Human Sciences Research Council


The role-players have specifically been approached in consultation with the SIU to ensure inclusive and widespread oversight and the muscle to take action when needed.