2010 Headache

WHEN 70000 construction workers embark on an indefinite strike today it is not the only headache for those in charge of delivering the 2010 World Cup showpiece.

Yesterday the public service commission flagged potential corruption as one of the areas the public service needed to guard against ahead of next year's spectacle.

Sapa reports that the private sector did not escape criticism either, with the eight annual State of the Public Service report indicating that corruption in the private sector is prevalent during competition for government and private company contracts.

"Huge public resources are invested in the event and this also creates opportunities for the dissipation of money into private pockets," said the report.

Researchers said the construction industry, which stood to gain the most from government contracts, was perceived to be the "dirtiest" in its business dealings.

While studying compliance rates with, for example, tenders, they found that there was not always evidence of three quotations having been sought for amounts below R200000.

"Such malpractices expose the public service to risks that could otherwise be avoided," they observed.

The report warned that a recent Business Against Crime survey found that employees of public sector companies were among those who had solicited and accepted bribes from companies and the government.

"The private sector should also pay greater attention to the business practices of its employees to ensure a high ethical standard."

Meanwhile, about 10000 members of the Cosatu-affiliated NUM, and the Building, Construction and Allied Workers Union are expected to down tools in KwaZulu-Natal.

They will be among 70000 workers at various 2010 projects that will embark on a strike today after employers and unions failed to reach agreement on a wage increase. The unions are demanding 13 percent while employers are offering 10 percent.

Construction will stop at Moses Mabhida Stadium, King Shaka International Airport, a project in Durban harbour and at a power station in Umnambithi.