SIU, Public Works launch new anti-corruption forum

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Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head Advocate Andy Mothibi.
Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head Advocate Andy Mothibi.
Tebogo Letsie, Gallo Images, City Press
  • The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and the Special Investigating Unit have created a new anti-corruption forum.
  • The forum is aimed at monitoring infrastructure projects more effectively and putting systems in place to detect and prevent corruption.
  • Representatives of the forum include the NPA and the Hawks.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and the Special Investigating Unit have created a new anti-corruption forum aimed at monitoring infrastructure projects more effectively and putting systems in place to detect and prevent corruption.

The new initiative has been named the Infrastructure Built Anti-Corruption Forum (IBACF) and was officially launched on Monday.

According to a joint statement by the Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, and Infrastructure and SIU head Advocate Andy Mothibi, the mandate of the forum will be to collaborate, consult, support and co-operate with one another to fight fraud and corruption in the sector.

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This will be done through criminal prosecution and civil litigation as well as through prevention initiatives such as corruption risk assessments, awareness programmes, identification and detection of corruption, controls improvement, systemic recommendations, and monitoring and reporting.

"The forum will have oversight of investigations and will see various agencies working together to investigate any reported and alleged corruption so that we enhance accountability in the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment Plan's projects," the statement read.

"The forum agreed that one of its main and immediate areas of work will be to look into how whistle-blowers can be incentivised and rewarded for coming forward with information on corruption that leads to successful prosecution."

The forum will be led by the SUI and Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, but have representatives from the following bodies:

- The National Prosecuting Authority

- The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation

- The Financial Intelligence Centre

- Corruption Watch

- The Council for the Built Environment

- Master Builders South Africa

- South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP)

- Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA)

- South African Black Technical & Allied Careers Organisation (multi-

  disciplinary) (SABTACO)

- South African Bureau of Standards

- Business Unity South Africa (BUSA)

- The Human Sciences Research Council

Speaking about the forum, De Lille said corruption within the built environment has run rampant for too long and that those involved in corrupt dealings and found guilty must face the consequences.

"The State has structures in place, but government cannot do this work alone, and that is why we have brought private sector, public entities and civil society together in this forum so that we can work together on more effective ways to detect, prevent and act against corruption," De Lille said.

"Our people need better roads, hospitals, schools and generally better infrastructure for better services, we need better and more government buildings. We cannot allow the crooks to continue to steal billions meant for infrastructure. People, no matter who they are, cannot be allowed to continue to steal and stifle progress at the expense of the most vulnerable in our country.

READ | Masuku's interpretation of court judgment 'flawed' - SIU

"We must work together to put an end to this scourge because corruption steals from the poor. We also need a clear path to delivering quality infrastructure to create the crowding-in effect of more investment by the private sector."

According to Mothibi, based on the SIU investigations under various proclamations over the years, totalling over R10 billion to date, the construction sector is vulnerable to, among others, price-fixing, high Construction Industry Development Board grading issued to non-deserving contractors, and issuing of illegal environmental permits for large developers to develop in sensitive environmental areas.

He added that defrauding the State through the usage of substandard construction material to make more profit and facilitation fee/bribery/kickbacks, among others, was also an issue.

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