http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.04Change: -0.16
R/$ = 12.07Change: -0.10
Au 1204.60 $/ozChange: 1.40
Pt 1170.50 $/ozChange: 4.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 03, 2012

Corruption Watch to cast critical eye over SA’s R850bn infrastructure plan

Back
Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis in conversation with Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer on the organisation's current priorities. Camera Work: Nicholas Boyd & Duane Daws. Editing: Darlene Creamer.
 
 
 
Engineering|Africa|Defence|Design|Industrial|Systems|Africa|South Africa|Energy|Energy Programme|Online Portal|Systems|David Lewis|Infrastructure
Engineering|Africa|Defence|Design|Industrial|Systems|Africa||Energy|Systems|Infrastructure
engineering|africa-company|defence|design|industrial|systems-company|africa|south-africa|energy|energy-programme|online-portal|systems|david-lewis|infrastructure
© Reuse this



Recently established civil society watchdog Corruption Watch is considering ways to cast an anticorruption spotlight on South Africa’s R850-billion infrastructure programme, which is being led primarily by State-owned companies.

Executive director David Lewis tells Engineering News Online the programme, which government aims to use to stimulate industrial development, create jobs and accelerate growth, needs to be designed in such a way that it does not become a “hot spot” for dishonest activities and unscrupulous opportunists.

It is acceptable, from a policy perspective, to pay a higher price for local content that could yield jobs, skills and introduce new technology. But Lewis says that price will only be worth paying in a context where there is sound governance and transparency of the costs and benefits. Otherwise, there is a risk that companies may establish themselves “simply to grease the wheels”, which would leave society picking up the tab, while further eroding the citizenry’s already fragile trust in the public sector.

“What I know about the ‘arms deal’ is that it wasn’t so much local content, but local intermediation between foreign suppliers and the defence force that became corrupted. In other words, deriving local rents from facilitating connectedness between the seller and the buyer.”

The scale of the programme is the primary reason for Corruption Watch’s emerging interest in infrastructure. The energy programme alone, Lewis muses, could make the arms deal “look like a rounding error”.

The organisation is, thus, considering replicating an approach taken by a Russian online portal, which tracks tenders and invites comments on ‘irregularities’, particularly from losing bidders. Such profiling could provide an early warning of compromises in tender processes.

The organisation is also eager to recruit a programme manager with intimate knowledge of public tender processes so that its interventions are based on a sound understanding of the risks inherent in such processes.

BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT

Besides infrastructure, Corruption Watch, which has it roots in the Congress of South African Trade Unions, is also planning to consolidate its “engagement” with the business community more generally.

Through this contract, it aims to highlight not only the threats associated with corrupted tender processes, but also to help aise awareness of the scourge, as well as debate about the potential remedies.

Lewis is particularly keen to tap into the internal communication channels of large business to extend the anticorruption message to both employees and customers. “We would like to put a more constructive spin on how corruption might be combatted.”

The problem currently, is that the risk/reward balance remains skewed in favour of the corrupt. Evidenced, Lewis argues, by the fact that those engaging in such activities are often unafraid to flaunt the fruits of their ill-gotten gains through the purchase of new cars, or other visible assets.

“It reminds me a little bit of the early days of the competition authorities,” the former Competition Tribunal chairperson adds. “Corrupt people feel so well protected . . . so certain that the risks of getting caught are really low, which leads them to leaving the most extraordinary evidence lying around.”

Therefore, even though the organisation has no statutory powers, such impunity has already created an opportunity for it to begin to expose corruption through basic desktop research and investigation.

In total, it has received over 2 000 complaints, ranging from corruption among traffic officers and Home Affairs officials, to nepotism in appointments in small towns, which is resulting in allegations of budget pillaging.

It will work with the enforcement agencies where it is able to secure evidence of corruption, but Lewis says a strong focus is mobilising opposition against the problem.

“There has to be robust prosecution and that has to be perceived as part of the risk . . . but you can’t solve this problem by serial acts of prosecution alone. There will always be more coming in the back door than you manage to get out the front door.”

Prosecutions should be complemented by “naming and shaming”, helping to design systems that disable corruption and the mobilisation of an “outraged citizenry”.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Latest News
The Sere wind farm
Electricity utility Eskom announced on Monday that its 100 MW Sere wind farm, near Vredendal in the Western Cape, had entered full commercial operations at the end of March, with all 46 wind turbines having been erected and the construction of the Skaapvlei...
Construction on Line 2B of Pretoria’s A Re Yeng bus-rapid transit (BRT) system would start in August, while construction on Line 2C would start in November, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has revealed. Line 2B will run between Hatfield and Menlyn and Line 2C between...
Ministers from governments across Africa have renewed their call for a strong, new universal climate-change agreement and increased flows of funds, including through market and finance opportunities, sufficient to fulfil Africa’s development aspirations, at the...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Today’s organisations execute projects within increasingly complex environments – particularly in the engineering sector. The ability to successfully execute these projects is what drives the realisation of successful projects and, ultimately, the achievement of...
SMART DISTRIBUTION Providing funds to introduce smart grid technologies in the absence of a clearly defined strategy will not result in the desired outcome
South Africa’s distribution grid is a twentieth-century relic, which must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid Programme manager Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are...
There is a disparity in government funding provided to integrated transport networks – bus rapid transit (BRT) networks ¬¬– and that given to conventional bus services, says Putco executive director Thys Heyns. “We have neglected and strangled conventional bus...
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) is building 502 rental housing units, valued at R200-million, in Dobsonville, Soweto, which are scheduled for completion in June 2016.
Automotive component manufacturer and distributor Metair is centralising its research and development (R&D) work in Turkey, in an attempt to bolster the company’s ability to produce affordable start/stop batteries. The new R&D centre is part of an expansion plan in...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96