23 August 2017

South Africa: Construction Industry Council Deals With Corruption

The South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) on Wednesday said it is dealing decisively with cases of corruption in the construction industry.

The SACPCMP is a juristic body established by Section 2 of the Project and Construction Management Act (Act No 48 of 2000). It was established to regulate construction management and construction project management professionals to protect the public. It is one of the leading councils in the Built Environment sector that has professionalised specified categories to not only transform the construction industry landscape, but also ensure that only people with proven competencies within their professional disciplines are recognised to work in the construction sector in the public interest.

Briefing the media on Wednesday in Pretoria, the SACPCMP said they were able to identify discrepancies, which upon closer scrutiny revealed possible acts of fraud and corruption.

SACPCMP President Tjiamogale Manchidi said the identified isolated cases led them to immediately appoint a reputable forensic audit firm to drill deeper into these and any other possible incidents that had not been detected.

"Without giving credit only to our internal efficiencies, we also want to thank individuals, companies and Voluntary Associations (VAs) that have alerted us to possible acts of corruption," said Manchidi.

Manchidi said the SACPCMP has a proud record of spearheading innovative initiatives aimed at the growth, development and transformation of the Built Environment Management Professions.

"We have professionalised new categories for registration, including Professional Construction Mentors, Construction Mentors, Construction Health and Safety Managers and Officers as well as Agents.

"Our organisation is one of the leading Built Environment Professions Council under the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) that has been the torch-bearer in professionalising specified categories to ensure that only people with proven competencies within their professional disciplines are recognised to work in the construction sector, in the public interest," he said.

Nomvula Rakolote, SACPCMP Registrar, said it is disappointing that the image of SACPCMP and registered persons could be tarnished by the irresponsible conduct of those who want to undermine national efforts to transform the construction industry.

"As the safety of the public is of paramount importance to the SACPCMP, such unethical practices go against the SACPCMP grain. Consequently, the safety of the public is being compromised and this goes against national imperatives," she said.

According to the SACPCMP, the preliminary audit findings indicate that there are elements of corrupt and unethical practices committed by a few staff members, external companies serving as unauthorised agents and rogue applicants who undermine streamlined and rigorous processes for short-term gain.

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 services that remain the exclusive domain of the SACPCMP.

"Corruption is an antithesis 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 have a critical role to play because it re-directs the scarce resources into the pockets of a few dishonest individuals resulting in the decay of ethical values and public morality," said Public Works Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, who was briefed about the challenges facing SACPCMP.

Minister Nhleko commended the SACPCMP for the action it has taken against those involved. This, he said, sends an unequivocal message of the industry's commitment to clean governance.

He expects a progress report on how these cases of corruption will be finalised.

Getting rid of the rot

The Department of Labour Chief Inspector: OHS, Tibor Szana, commended the SACPCMP for its vigilance in ensuring that the integrity of the registration process of professionals engaged in occupational health and safety in the construction sector is maintained.

"The department supports the SACPCMP in its efforts to root out corruption within its ranks," Szana said.

The SACPMP reported that between 2004 and 2009, deaths at construction sites were at an average 71 people a year. Between 2010 and 2014, the average was 76, with the highest number of deaths, 96, occurring in 2010 and the lowest fatalities standing at 51 in 2011 after a massive 2010 build programme.

The public is urged to report any incidents that may have a bearing on corrupt practices that affect SACPCMP business. Members of the public can direct their queries to hotline@sacpcmp.org.za.

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