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Moves afoot to rein in the ‘construction mafia’

Prevention of Organised Crime Act may be used to deal with armed gangs that invade sites.
Next up is a meeting between the NPA and the National Police Commissioner that has been postponed five times so far because of the latter’s schedule. Image: Moneyweb

Moves are afoot to rein in the disruption of construction sites by the so-called ‘construction mafia’ or business forums through the use of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca).

SA Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) CEO Webster Mfebe said this week that he led a delegation to a meeting with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in October last year, during which the NPA agreed that the disruption of construction sites should not be dealt with as just a common criminal act but in terms of Poca.

This will then release resources and attention to deal with these crimes head-on, he said.

SOS to government

The meeting followed Safcec in March last year sending an SOS to government and demanding urgent intervention at the highest level, to halt a series of attacks on construction projects by AK-47-wielding thugs who are part of the ‘construction mafia’.

Mfebe said at the time that these gangs had by then disrupted and halted at least 78 projects worth a minimum of R25.5 billion.

A chorus of related bodies – including the Association of SA Quantity Surveyors, the SA Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions and the SA Institution of Civil Engineering – subsequently added their voices to those with growing concerns over these forums’ activities.

Projects compromised

These illegal site disruptions caused listed construction and engineering group Aveng and European-based Strabag International to withdraw from an SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) project that forms part of the N2 Wild Coast Road Construction project, over fears for the safety of their employees.

Armed gangs in March last year also halted construction on the R2.4 billion German oil storage investment project being built in Saldanha by JSE-listed construction group WBHO.

Read: How the construction ‘mafia’ business model jumped to other sectors

Mfebe said the meeting with the NPA was a Safcec-driven initiative but that Safcec realised it was not an island and that the issue affected the overall construction industry. It therefore invited other players, including the SA Forum for Engineering, to participate.


He said that while the invitation had extended to them, some companies affected by the disruption had declined – for fear of victimisation and retribution.

Mfebe described it as “a very fruitful meeting indeed”, adding that it was attended by the heads of various NPA divisions such as the Asset Forfeiture and Anti-Gang units.

What is still outstanding is a meeting with National Police Commissioner Khehla John Sitole to conclude the synergistic approach between the NPA, the Hawks and the SA Police Service. Mfebe said a meeting between the NPA and Sitole was arranged but has been postponed five times to date because of Sitole’s schedule.

Attempts to obtain comment from the NPA were unsuccessful.

Malusi Zondi, president of the Federation For Radical Economic Transformation (Ffret), to which the Delangokubona Business Forum is affiliated, declined to comment.

Mfebe said he had engaged with Ffret, which had been “very reasonable since they have organised themselves into that structure”.

“It’s only sporadic incidents of certain of their members, which is not encouraged by the overall structure, and also some splinter groups that appeared in opposition of Ffret that embarked on violent protests,” he said.

“I think the strategy of direct engagement with Ffret is paying dividends and so far I’ve not heard of any serious incident that has taken place.”

Mfebe added that Ffret has distanced itself from serious incidents that have taken place, as at the Saldanha oil storage project, and that Safcec had relied on Ffret to intervene to quell the “high temperature” in Hammarsdale (the Sanral interchange project near Cato Ridge that was brought to a halt last year).

Read: Ramaphosa slams ‘construction mafia’
 Construction mafia: the legal remedy
We have told them about Marikana – ‘construction mafia’

“That is proof enough that Ffret has re-engineered, reorganised and repurposed itself as a positive player fighting for their rights to being included in the mainstream economy as far as the construction sector is concerned,” he said.

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The army cannot even stop murders on the cape flats and the mighty gauvamunts are gonna stop the construction mafia ??? Ja no well fine !!

When a government loses its monopoly on physical violence, it is a sure sign that the country has become a failed state.

“Madan” at the NPA is still building capacity. In the lats year she managed to build ZIP capacity. Else maybe just one high profile politician would have been locked up.


SANRAL approves of the Mafia. They make it the contractors problem.

Mafia is nothing worse than the ANC Mafia. They will NEVER stop it.

There are talks about talks at the moment.
What is the difference between BEE schemes and the construction mafia by the way? BEE is legalized plunder, while the mafia is illegal plunder, but both are forms of plunder nonetheless.
The construction mafia, like the Zamma-zammas and BEE, are creations of the ANC. ANC policies enable, motivate and reward these parasitic “industries” to act like leeches on established businesses. Now they want to act against one leech because it interferes with another leech! Stop all forms of plunder! Stop legalized plunder, as well as illegal plunder! Restore law and order!

Isn’t it laughable how Gwede Manatshe boasts about the record-low incidents of mining accidents? He destroyed the mining industry with his Mining Charter. Thousands of mineworkers have lost their jobs because of him. They are not working in the formal mining industry any more. He turned them all into zamma-zammas. They are not dying in the formal industry. Many more are now dying in the zamma zamma industry. Shame on him for forcing people to work in these inhumane circumstances.

When they act against the construction mafia, the ANC will be acting to solve an issue that was created by the ANC. A total waste of time and money. A dog chasing its own tail.

Extremely well summarised Sensei : More a less a summary of everything affected by the ANC: Utter Incompetents /uneducated supposedly running a country !!

Well said Sensei. You should send a copy of this to Gwendy Manatshe. Also add that although the fatalities in the formal mining industry dropped, he should take into account the drop in volume of ore mined, and then calculate the ratio of fatalities/ton of ore mined. But he will not. His words are aimed at the uneducated masses. ANC publicity motto is “B*****t baffles the brainless”.

Gwede Manatshe, the intellectual giant who introduced the world to the new mineral called “unobtainium.” This senior official is the best the ANC has to offer. He is the cream of the ANC crop. What does this say about the rest then? What does it say about you, when you elect a leader who has only half a brain cell?

Yup, same way we had zero horse and carriage deaths last year – yaaaaaay!

Very easy to solve, a little Dirty harry trick will work. A few bodies added to the foundations, buried under concrete for ever. The moment the first gang disappears the others will think twice.

Stock theft was stopped like that in the Lesotho border, a few lone raiders went missing and the others quickly lost interest.

“When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labour.” – Frédéric Bastiat.

Agreed. But why stop with the construction mafia gangs. A couple of corrupt politicians start disappearing, some irregular tender beneficiaries… quite a long list or potentials.

Should someone ever wonder into my chez, looking to nationalise a tv or two, then that will be my strategy. CSI Azania wouldn’t find him. I’d sleep like a baby that night

Construction eish! A bag of cement is expensive

“Moves afoot to rein in” Rein in????? What?? This crime organisation must be stopped, not “reined in” But the sad thing is, government is unable to stop it. The ANC government has lost control. We see it daily, organised crime syndicates are on the increase. Arson at Prasa trains, nobody arrested yet, (but they look the other way when they are told to investigate the taxi associations). Armed robberies at private properties. Armed robberies at shopping malls. Truck hijackings. Farm murders. Not to even talk of all the white collar crimes being committed by organised crime syndicates. The capture of SOE’s. The plundering of state assets. Violent protests organised by labour unions.
The ANC is not in control. Organised crime is.

The ANC is organised crime?

I believe politics has become a ‘safe have’ for criminals and terrorists. Still not a single arrest for state capture.

Yep, organised crime is one of the “Leagues” of the ANC, like the “ANCWL”, the “ANCVL” and the “ANCYL”, it’s in secret called “ANCOCL”

cANCer are incapable of solving any issues. All they can do is to loot and steal! Away with incompetence!

Good move, hope it works quickly.

South Africa’s government’s solution to any problem. Have TALKS, hold MEETINGS, have more TALKS, then NOTHING HAPPENS, apart from the usual statements about “the full might of the law”, etc. What about scheduling a “Mafia Summit”? What about a “Crime Syndicate Conference”? What about another legotla to discuss “issues”?
It’s absolutely disgraceful that European construction companies have had to pull out of S.A. because of “Construction Mafias”.
Moody’s ….. are you listening?

Why are the police and others seemingly impotent when it comes to thugs? Are they just useless?

Ho hum heardit all before….

End of comments.





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