ANC government is now cutting deals with the construction mafia

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

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Sello Seitlholo MP

During a presentation before the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Transport, on infrastructure rehabilitation in KZN and the Eastern Cape following the July 2022 floods, a representative from the Auditor General’s (A-G) office made a startling revelation that the ANC government and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) entered into negotiations with the construction mafia to enable rail rehabilitation work to continue following disruptions.

While no further elaboration was provided by the official from the A-G’s office, it is clear that the ANC, PRASA and the construction mafias potentially reached a deal – with a financial incentive, to ensure that there were no further disruptions on the rail rehabilitation projects that were being carried out by PRASA.

The DA will submit a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to the Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, requesting that she provides the DA with a breakdown of:

•  All the infrastructure rehabilitation projects that were initiated following the floods in KZN and the Eastern Cape;

•  Details of individuals or entities that were awarded the tenders and the money that was paid to them;

•  Agreements that the government and PRASA entered into with business forums to enable rehabilitation work to continue;

•  The terms and conditions of the agreements with business forums, including the financial incentives agreed upon to consummate those deals.

According to the oral submissions by the official from the A-G’s office, the work to restore damaged rail networks in KZN by PRASA faced severe delays due to disruptions by the construction mafia. She revealed that “severe disruptions by the construction mafia delayed the recovery process and construction. [These were only resolved] when negotiations were concluded with the construction mafia”. The official indicated that the safety and security cluster did not respond timeously to the disruptions.

The DA finds it shocking and completely unacceptable that, instead of fighting the scourge of construction mafia cartels which have led to widespread disruptions to the sector – costing billions of rand and at times human lives – the ANC government has given in to the criminality and is now cutting deals with them. These are serious crimes of economic sabotage and the ANC government has no business negotiating with economic terrorists.

Negotiating with the construction mafia makes a mockery of the recent deployment of the SANDF by President Cyril Ramaphosa to deal with the construction mafia. It does not make sense to spend tens of millions of rand deploying the army while you are going through the backdoor to negotiate with the same criminals. The ANC government should be arresting and prosecuting construction mafia criminals instead of appeasing them through sweetheart deals at the expense of the rule of law.

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