Commission looks into construction tenders

The Competition Commission has launched an investigation into the allocation of multibillion-rand tenders for the construction of soccer stadiums across the country, Business Report said on Thursday.

This came amid concerns about the substantial cost escalations in each of the awarded tenders, the newspaper said.

Tembinkosi Bonakele, the deputy commissioner, was quoted as saying that the decision to launch an investigation was taken after considering the results of a preliminary inquiry, and after talking to various stakeholders.

“We have been looking closely at infrastructure in general, and inevitably at the big projects involved in infrastructure, including the stadiums,” said Bonakele.

“We found a number of things that concerned us with regard to the allocation of tenders for the stadium projects, and now want to launch a full-scale investigation into those tenders.”

Murray & Roberts, Group Five, Grinaker-LTA, Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon, Basil Read, Stefanutti Stocks, BAM International and Bouygues Construction would be probed, the report said.

The deputy commissioner emphasised that the investigation, which was expected to be concluded in 2010, would not have an impact on the stadiums under construction for the Fifa World Cup.

He told the newspaper there appeared to have been very little in the form of competitive bids from the major players.

He said this coincidence could be only partly explained by the fact that each of the companies faced similar cost structures.

The commission’s preliminary inquiry also found the cost for building the 2010 stadiums was comparatively higher than the non-2010 stadiums.

According to Business Report, the commission had been investigating various aspects of the construction industry for more than two years after identifying it, as well as food and pharmaceuticals, as major sectors in terms of consumer welfare.—Sapa

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