In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017, photo, a forklift is parked in front of one of the houses under construction in a housing plan in Zelienople, Pa. On Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, the Commerce Department reports on U.S. home construction in July. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PRETORIA - The SA Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) has launched a forensic investigation into project and construction management professions registrations and construction health and safety registrations after uncovering isolated incidents of corruption and fraud.

Eric Manchidi, president of the SACPCMP, confirmed yesterday a reputable audit firm, Moore Stephens SA Forensic Services, had been appointed to conduct the forensic investigation, which was expected to be completed within the next four to six weeks. Manchidi said the preliminary audit findings indicated that there were elements of corrupt and unethical practices committed by a few SACPCMP staff members, external companies serving as unauthorised agents and “rogue applicants who are hell bent on undermining our streamlined and rigorous processes for short term gain”.

Also read: No change in Gautrain ownership - Transport MEC Vadi

“This type of conduct has serious implications for the industry and for the South African public. These discrepancies are further compounded by a number of apparent 'agents' in the industry who are attempting to replicate the services which remain the exclusive domain of the SACPCMP,” he said. Manchidi confirmed that a number of SACPCMP staff members had been placed on precautionary suspension but was unable to quantify the number of SACPCMP officials who had been suspended.

He said the council wanted to spread the word about the corruption and unethical registration practices for professionals because this related to the protection of the public and it was only possible to eliminate these corrupt processes and practices once the public was aware of them.

Manchidi said if someone fraudulently acquired a certificate from the council indicating that they were competent to conduct any professional services, it may lead to financial loss, loss of life and even have an impact on the environment. Nomvula Rakolote, the registrar of the SACPCMP, said the council was taking this issue seriously because it would tarnish the image of the calibre of people registered with the council.

You may also be interested in: Murray & Roberts acquire further interest in the Bombela Concession Company

Tibor Szana, the chief inspector for occupational health and safety at the Department of Labour, said the department, as a partner in the registration process, commended the SACPCMP for its vigilance in rooting out corruption within its ranks. “We are dealing with people’s lives, health and safety is at risk and the professionals we have sought to register are vital ensuring that there is a reduction in fatalities and incidents in general on construction sites as far as possible,” he said.

Szana added that the department’s expectation when it entered into a relationship with the SACPCMP was that the council would ensure that the integrity of the registration process remained intact. Speaking on behalf of public works minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, department deputy director general Butcher Matutle said corruption was the antitheses of development. “Its demon should be exposed wherever it raises its ugly head. While it is government’s responsibility to fight it, society as well as the industry also has a critical role to play because it redirects scarce resources into the pockets of a few dishonest individuals, resulting in the decay of ethical values and public morality,” he said.