The National African Federation for the Building Industry (Nafbi) has called on the Competition Tribunal to “name and shame” all the individuals in the construction sector who acted criminally in rigging tenders, and in colluding.
The federation has also called for the suspension and deregistration of all these companies from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).
If this happened, these companies would not be allowed to tender for or receive public sector work.
Aubrey Tshalata, Nafbi’s national general secretary, stressed that many black-owned contractors had been deregistered for minor transgressions.
“This act of corruption, worth billions of rands, must surely be reason to deregister these companies from the CIDB [and] strip them of their greediness and suspend them from doing work with the state. If this does not happen, all black-owned companies must be reinstated and the deregistration of companies from the CIDB must be scrapped.”
Tshalata said the corruption and fraud by these companies undermined and hindered all efforts towards industry development and transformation, which was what the CIDB was formed to fight against.
He said Nafbi was particularly angered by the fact that these companies were “colluding behind our backs” even as they negotiated the construction industry transformation charter.
“This is negotiating in bad faith and proof they were never committed to transformation and makes a mockery of the transformation charter.”
Tshalata said the process of criminally charging the individuals involved in bid-rigging and collusion must be publicised and their assets seized “as it happened with black contractors” or it would be seen as racial discrimination.
He said all government officials and politicians involved in the collusion with these corrupt companies must also be named.
Nafbi’s comments follow the Competition Tribunal last month confirming consent agreements entered into between the Competition Commission and 15 construction firms in terms of which they agreed to collectively pay penalties of R1.46 billion for bid-rigging and collusion.
The commission previously indicated it had reached an understanding with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in terms of which the NPA would only commence its investigation into these corrupt activities once the commission had concluded its fast-track settlement process for the construction sector.