Gauteng premier David Makhura has been urged to act against criminality in infrastructure development projects. File picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance has urged Gauteng premier David Makhura and infrastructure development MEC Jacob Mamabolo to act against lawlessness and criminality in infrastructure development projects.

The DA was concerned that at least 21 infrastructure development projects had been disrupted by so-called "business forums" seeking to enrich themselves on projects, DA Gauteng MPL Alan Fuchs said on Sunday.

The infrastructure development department (DID) had preferential procurement regulations in place that set out exactly how tenders and sub-contractors were appointed, he said.

So-called business forums and ad-hoc organisations that were not formally constituted were knowingly and maliciously misinterpreting the provisions of the preferential procurement regulations.

"In some cases, the business forums have demanded that the tender should be awarded to certain main contractors, even though the appointment of the main contractor is the legislated responsibility of the department of infrastructure development (DID)," Fuchs said.

"These forums who claim to represent the local communities have either demanded from successful tenderers an upfront payment of 30 percent of the value of the contract or the right to nominate who the sub-contractors should be. This criminal behaviour then leads to cost and time overruns of infrastructure projects, causing delays in service delivery and social instability in communities," he said.

In many of these areas the construction of clinics, libraries, and schools had been disrupted. These were important projects as they provided much needed infrastructure to the community, services, and job opportunities. Some of the affected areas were Hammanskraal, Shoshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Merafong, Johanneburg, and Ekurheleni.

Makhura had acknowledged that business forum "thugs" were stalling the progress of these 21 projects but had failed to outline how the provincial government would deal with this.

"In the DA-led metros, the City of Joburg and City of Tshwane where such cases have occurred, law enforcement agencies were called in to secure the projects and arrests the perpetrators. The DA calls on the premier and the MEC... to provide a formal strategy to deal with the lawlessness and criminality in these projects," Fuchs said.

African News Agency/ANA