Public entity the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) has reaffirmed its stance against any form of corruption in the country, as a co-signatory to the Infrastructure Built Anti-Corruption Forum’s anti-corruption pledge.
The pledge was signed in Pretoria on June 30 by all the members of the Infrastructure Built Anti-Corruption Forum (IBACF), including Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille, the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the Hawks and the CBE, besides others.
In the main, the IBACF will serve as a platform to develop innovative and preventive measures and advisory and awareness initiatives using the latest data analytics tools to help find loopholes in procurement legislation that renders it vulnerable to corrupt practices.
During the signing, De Lille said it was crucial to put in place effective systems to detect and prevent corruption, which would allow for a greater level of transparency and credibility in the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment Plan.
The CBE notes that the signing of the pledge is symbolic in many respects, showing a common determination to ensure the built environment is a sector that “does the right thing” at all times.
“This demands agile leadership across the board that must ensure that Minister De Lille’s message that ‘corruption is a societal problem and fighting it is everyone’s business’ is amplified.
“The signing of the anti-corruption pledge provides a moment for the entire built environment sector to pause and re-imagine the future of the sector free of corruption and bribery. It must do so with an appreciation that the industry is currently experiencing job losses, companies are shutting, and the number of unemployed young graduates has never been higher,” the entity emphasises.
It posits that, to respond to these challenges, the built environment sector must act speedily, with agility, to address the current challenges in the country.
The entity points out that the challenges faced in the sector have been exacerbated by negative perceptions impacting it, including the disruption and hijacking of projects by business forums or the construction mafia.
The CBE says it is determined to tackle these perceptions.
With the recent developments in the industry, the CBE, in consultation with all the councils, is now in the process of developing a Transformation and Sector Code of Conduct which will encompass all applicable legislative prescripts to regulate the behaviour of stakeholders, including professionals, and to strengthen the ethical duties of members.
The entity says the code will ensure the industry as a whole has a system of ensuring that all corrupt or suspected corrupt activities are handled in accordance with the relevant laws, including the Public Finance Management Act and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, which require that such activities be reported to law enforcement agencies.
With regard to the protection of the public, and to ensure that whistleblowing is encouraged, the CBE also has a platform for complaints from any person against any role-player in the industry.
Such complaints are assessed internally to ensure that, where possible, any corrupt activities are handled in accordance with the applicable laws and reported to law enforcement.