CESA Responds to the Announcement of a Construction Mafia Hotline

By Chris Campbell, CEO of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA)

Chris Campbell, CEO of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA).

In response to the recent announcement by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Zihle Zikalala, regarding the establishment of a call centre for the reporting of disruptions at construction sites in relation to the construction mafia, we have reservations about the effectiveness of a call centre as a solution.

While we appreciate the government’s efforts to address disruptions at construction sites, historically, government-operated call centre facilities have faced challenges in delivering timely and efficient services, and thus there are concerns about the viability of this approach.

In this context, we raise important questions about the safety and anonymity of individuals reporting disturbances at construction sites. It is crucial to ensure that those who come forward with information are protected and that their concerns are addressed promptly. We also seek clarity on the measures in place to safeguard anonymous callers who may face threats or reprisals for reporting such incidents.

Our industry has faced persistent disruptions since 2018. We acknowledge the efforts of law enforcement officers in this regard, but progress has been to slow in holding perpetrators accountable. It is our belief that addressing the root causes of these disruptions is essential, and we echo the sentiment that without addressing such issues, challenges will persist.

We understand that public announcements and initiatives often align with political cycles, especially in the run-up to an election year. However, it is imperative that we prioritise the development of our infrastructure to foster economic growth and national development. The construction industry plays a vital role in this process, and we must focus on strengthening our capacity for crime intelligence rather than hastily recruiting individuals without the necessary qualifications or expertise to handle such a delicate issue as the construction mafia.

CESA recognises the significance of the construction industry for our country’s development. We remain committed to constructive dialogue and collaboration with all stakeholders to address disruptions and create a conducive environment for infrastructure development. We encourage a comprehensive approach that considers the concerns and safety of all parties involved.

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