Industry organisation Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) says it has reservations about the effectiveness of a call centre as a solution for disruptions at construction sites.
This follows a recent announcement by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala regarding the establishment of a call centre for the reporting of disruptions at construction sites in relation to the “construction mafia”.
“While we appreciate the government's efforts to address disruptions at construction sites, historically, government-operated call centre facilities have faced challenges in delivering timely and efficient services, and thus there are concerns about the viability of this approach,” CEO Chris Campbell says.
In this context, the organisation has raised questions about the safety and anonymity of individuals reporting disturbances at construction sites.
“It is crucial to ensure that those who come forward with information are protected and that their concerns are addressed promptly. We also seek clarity on the measures in place to safeguard anonymous callers who may face threats or reprisals for reporting such incidents,” it emphasises.
Campbell says the industry has faced persistent disruptions since 2018.
“We acknowledge the efforts of law enforcement officers in this regard, but progress has been too slow in holding perpetrators accountable. It is our belief that addressing the root causes of these disruptions is essential, and we echo the sentiment that, without addressing such issues, challenges will persist,” he points out.
“We understand that public announcements and initiatives often align with political cycles, especially in the run-up to an election year. However, it is imperative that we prioritise the development of our infrastructure to foster economic growth and national development,” Campbell emphasises.
He avers that the construction industry plays a vital role in this process and that the focus must be on strengthening the capacity for crime intelligence rather than recruiting individuals without the necessary qualifications or expertise to handle such a delicate issue.