It would be laughable were it not for the fact that it relates to people being intimidated and threatened with death.
A so-called “business forum”, which has allegedly been behind several armed attacks on construction projects worth over R25 billion, simply denies it was involved and uses the hoary old standby cover-up excuse that witness accounts of its members’ involvement in attacks were nothing more than “mistaken identity”.
That sort of denial has become commonplace in government: even when the evidence is plain before everyone: deny, deny, deny … and obfuscate. That’s what was done with Nkandla, remember? On that occasion, the ANC liars swore straight-faced that it was a “fire pool” built for the president.
The Delangokubona Business Forum – a KZN-based group, which claims to advocate for local business and community interests – has been using mafia-like tactics to demand a cut of lucrative projects or jobs for its members.
So concerned is the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors that it has called for national intervention into what it described as a major threat to projects worth billions.
The South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors also made an urgent plea for action from Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni.
The construction experts say the violence has already scared off a large international firm who decided the business was not worth the risk to its staff. And therein lies the real threat of organisations like the Delangokubona Business Forum.
While they may employ exactly the same sort of violent protest many South Africans use to get their own way, they are now telling the world – and crucial foreign investors – that this is not a safe place to do business.
That is tantamount to economic sabotage. And the government must deal with it in the strictest possible way.