Construction industry BEE council worried over cartel report

The Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC) has expressed carefully crafted disappointment over news that top players in the construction industry were running a cartel, serious enough to draw the attention of the Hawks.

The involvement of the special investigative unit, Hawks, makes this a special case that defies a tradition where cartel cases are investigated and concluded by the competition authorities. It raises suspicion that massive fraud was involved in the cases investigated.

In a statement released by CSCC new CEO, Thabo Masombuka, the council was extraordinarily critical of the industry. This may be seen as a fulfillment of a promise made by Masombuka when he assumed the CSCC reigns last month. He promised to sting anti transformational practices which will push the CSCC into uncharted territory. The organisation was for intense and purposes slumbering since establishment in 2009.

“The CSCC noted with disappointment the recent media reports regarding the investigation of building cartels in the construction sector…” said the statement.

“Although this is still the subject of extensive and on-going investigation by law enforcement and competition authorities, the CSCC find and view these allegations in a very serious light”.

“This is of deep concern as the projects referred to were meant to be used as a

platform to fast track access and empowerment of small emerging firms into the main

construction projects during the world cup projects and beyond”.

“Although only a few major construction firms have been mentioned in the report, the CSCC, as the representative body of all construction industry organizations, is particularly perturbed concerned that an impression was being created that the entire industry has potentially engaged in unlawful conduct and price fixing activities. Something that is certainly not the case. The CSCC has urged all its affected affiliates to co-operate fully with the investigation and commit to root out all incidents of alleged uncompetitive behavior within the construction sector”.

“As an industry body responsible for transformation and Black Economic Empowerment in the Construction sector, of which access and inclusive growth is the underlying and central pillar, the CSCC is deeply concerned that these allegations, if found to be true, will have far reaching and damaging implications of the industry’s ongoing efforts to implement the objectives of the construction charter, which fundamentally seeks to achieve inclusive growth of the industry”.

“The CSCC will follow with keen interest the results of the investigations and would urge the law enforcement authorities to urgently complete their investigation so that the industry can focus on the real issues of empowerment and implementation of the construction empowerment charter”.

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