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Compiled by Devina Haripersad

Construction mafia should be declared ‘national priority crime’ – DA

The shadow minister for public works believes that the industry's lawlessness directly threatens the stability of the economy.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for the construction mafia and their illegal activities to be declared a national priority crime, and the Hawks have acknowledged this request.

Last week it was revealed that the construction mafia caused a significant delay in the completion of a project at Durban’s Menzi High School. For a period of two years, they halted progress on the project due to their insistence on receiving a share of the benefits.

The DA has lashed out at the corruption in the construction industry, saying it believes that the construction mafia’s actions, which include economic sabotage and extortion, directly threatens the stability of the economy and investment.

Sabotaging the economy

Sello Seitlholo, the DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, has urged Hawks head Lt-General Godfrey Lebeya to use his authority to officially designate the construction mafia as a national priority crime.

“The construction mafia consists of various groups that engage in crimes aimed at sabotaging the economy, particularly in the construction industry.

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“Their actions have reached a level where they pose a significant threat to economic stability and investment.

“These mafia groups have grown more audacious and confident in their sabotage tactics because they have been able to avoid punishment for an extended period,” he said.

Organised crime

National priority crimes are defined as organised crime, crimes that require national prevention or investigation, or crimes that demand specialised skills for prevention or investigation.

“The construction mafia’s activities fall under the category of organised crime, which has gained a nationwide presence, necessitating its designation as a national priority crime according to the law,” Seitlholo said.

ALSO READ: Construction sector declines by 20% as a result of industry lawlessness

On 6 July, the DA confirmed that it wrote to Lebeya asking him to use his authority in terms of Section 17D of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 to officially designate the construction mafia and its related extortion activities as a national priority crime.

“We hope for a swift decision that will strengthen law enforcement efforts in combating the construction mafia. The DA emphasises the importance of tackling this issue to safeguard the economy and promote a secure environment for investment and growth in the construction industry,” Seitlholo said.

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