Roger Jardine, former CEO of the Aveng Group, delivered a public lecture entitled Rejecting Collusion and Corruption: Where to for the government and the private sector? at the Wits Business School on 8 October.
Jardine resigned as CEO in August 2013 following five years at the helm of the Aveng Group. During his presentation, Jardine reflected on his experience in dealing with the investigation by the Competition Commission of South Africa into the so-called construction cartel.
“The National Development Plan calls for an active citizenry and I feel that the time has come for all South Africans to find their voices and reject collusion and corruption. This we must all do without the fear of repercussions from colleagues in business or government officials. A country in which citizens live in fear of their leaders is a country in decline,” said Jardine before explaining that corruption has shaped the public’s view of the construction industry.
“The issue of collusion and corruption has shaped how we have come to view the construction industry, but corruption is also a more pervasive issue in our society, extending beyond just one industry or sector,” said Jardine.
Earlier in 2013, the Global Corruption Barometer found that 47% of South Africans had paid a bribe to secure an essential service. 54% felt that corruption had increased in the last two years. 65% said that the problem was the most serious in the public sector.
“However, not everything is gloom and doom. In the same survey, 89% of South Africans expressed a willingness to become involved in fighting corruption,” added Jardine.
Although the incidents of collusion occurred before Jardine joined the company in 2008, as CEO he led the process to investigate the allegations of collusion within the company. Jardine resigned in August 2013. In June 2013, Aveng – along with 14 other companies – agreed to pay R1.46-billion in fines for tender rigging.