Monday, September 27, 2021

Minister alive to allegations of collusion by construction companies

Infrastructure, Science and Technology Minister Johnnie Swartz is alive to allegations of collusion in price fixing by some big construction companies currently under investigation in South Africa.

While he is aware, Swartz would, however, not commit himself as to what action his ministry intends to take or has taken.

Construction companies with a local presence, namely Murray & Roberts, Group Five, WBHO, Grinaker ÔÇôLTA, Basil Read and Stocks & Stocks, among others, are being investigated by South Africa’s Competition Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority.

“We are obviously concerned. But this does not necessarily mean you pass judgement on those companies. The issue [alleged collusion by construction companies] is being pursued in South Africa. We are not yet ready to issue a statement based on hearsay,” Swartz told this newspaper on the sidelines of his tour of government funded projects, which have not been completed within set time frames.

The minister toured some of the incomplete projects for which the government has since reissued tenders for their completion.

The Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology has requested additional funding for a number of projects whose completion dates have been delayed.

Earlier this month, the ministry awarded a tender for P473, 590 to KMP Construction (Pty) Ltd for the completion of the remaining works at the Botswana Public Service College. The ministry has also awarded a tender for the Consultancy Services for the Construction of Terminal Building at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport to NACO/Stewart Scott International Airport Consultants to the tune of P4, 635,398.59 for the completion of the project.

According to Minister Swartz, the government will further spend no less than P65 million needed for the completion of the Francistown and Lobatse stadia that are also behind schedule.

The National Stadium, which should have been completed three years ago, is expected to be complete by June, according to the contractor on site who is currently working on the drainage system.
Ryan Wilson, the Project Manager, on Tuesday told the Minister and a group of journalists that he hopes to grass the stadium by the end of March and have it ready for use by June.

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