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'Collusion victims must sue'

Corruption Watch say victims of collusion and bid-rigging must sue guilty firms.

Corruption Watch has called on those affected by collusion and bid-rigging to sue the guilty companies. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Corruption Watch is calling on those affected by widespread collusion in the construction industry to sue the companies involved for damages.

The organisation made a submission on Wednesday before a Competition Tribunal hearing in Pretoria into collusion and bid-rigging in the sector.

The original probe uncovered widespread anti-competitive behaviour in the industry, including tender-rigging in projects worth more than R47 billion.

Around R28 billion of that amount came from public funds, affecting nine municipalities across the country.

Projects included the construction of stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Gautrain, hospitals, dams, bridges, and upgrades to airports and highways.

The hearing is aimed at assessing the nearly R.5 billion settlement agreement reached between the Competition Commission and 15 construction companies.

Corruption Watch's David Lewis said, "When a party has admitted guilt, it opens the door to damages suits and those who think that the fines represent too low a deterrent or too low a punishment should sue them for damages."

The tribunal has also heard calls for those responsible to be criminally charged and their companies blacklisted.

A total of 300 rigged projects were disclosed.