‘Those involved in collusion must be punished’

Roger Jardine says the construction sector wants justice for what has happened to the industry.

Certain companies in the construction sector were found guilty of collusion by the Competition Commission.

JOHANNESBURG - Former CEO of Aveng Construction Firm Roger Jardine wants to see individual businessmen who are responsible for construction collusion to be personally prosecuted and not hide behind their big companies.

In July, the Competition Commission imposed penalties of R1.4 billion on some construction companies for collusion involving the 2010 World Cup Stadiums.

Aveng accepted to pay a R307 million fine admitting to collusion to fix contract prices.

One month after this, Jardine resigned.

Addressing a Wits Business School event on Tuesday, Jardine said the construction sector wants justice for what has happened to this industry.

"The prospect of jail term will deter cartel behaviour and I've seen individuals who were involved in this misconduct leave the company and take employment elsewhere and continue unscathed while the company pays fines and has to manage reputation damage for a long time."

Jardine says private and public sectors must pay more attention to the bidding process.

"Before any further bids are brought to the market, I'd like our government to compel all bidders for a public sector contract regardless of the need to sign an integrity pact."

At the same time, the former Aveng CEO says government and businesses should stop pointing fingers at one another and collectively start working towards eradicating corruption.

He says our society is unravelling under corruption.

"We can't afford a climate in which South Africans feel if you are powerful you will not be held accountable. Let's hold our politicians to a higher standard where it's unacceptable to trade political influence for business influence."

Jardine added leaders must be declared unfit to return to their post if found guilty of collusion.

"Let's start by making people accountable for their actions and prosecute individuals who are involved in corruption and collusion and if found guilty, prohibit them from holding leadership positions."