DA stands by its construction mafia statement

Issued by Sello Seitlholo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
02 Oct 2023 in News

The DA takes note of the statement issued by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) Communications Directorate in which they have given the DA 7 days to issue a public apology to Minister Sihle Zikalala.

The Department’s statement is in response to our media statement released yesterday in which we called out Minister Sihle Zikalala for making false and misleading claims that over 200 individuals – who were alleged to be part of the construction mafia, have been arrested to date.

We stand by our statement and we will not be apologising.

The Minister first claimed that 200 arrests had been made in relation to construction mafia crimes. Later he upped the figure to 600 on the JJ Tabane show. The onus is on him to prove that this is true using proof of arrests obtained from SAPS. Until he does, the DA stands by its statement that he is misleading the public.

On 10 July 2023, the DA submitted a PAIA application to SAPS requesting that they provide us with a breakdown of the specific construction projects that were targeted and the related category of crimes for which the 200 individuals, who were alleged to be part of the construction mafia, were arrested for. In addition, SAPS had to provide clarity on the exact number of individuals – from the 200, who have either been granted bail, are still on trial or have been convicted.

Not only did SAPS fail to provide records on proofs of arrest to substantiate the 200 arrests claim, they wrote to the DA to ask for an extra 30 days to look for the information. The 30 days lapsed with no further communication from the Police, which led us to the conclusion that the information was not available.