Construction Corruption Hinders Mpumalanga’s Youth from Reaching Full Potential

Construction Corruption Hinders Mpumalanga’s Youth from Reaching Full Potential

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the educated young South African achieving their goals and holding dear the opportunities they deserve based on their qualifications and hard work. However, the sad reality is the ‘job scarcity’ in this country.

In this article , my primary concern is the province of Mpumalanga. The hope of attending youth conferences organised to empower the youth are, sadly, all talk and no action. It is a parade to show off what other people have achieved, and then hand out their contact details to these youngsters, giving them hope.

As soon as the youth go knocking on their doors, they are rejected with an email such as “we regret to inform you….” There is no way of helping these individuals improve. 

The media has written countless numbers of articles based on the corruption in Mpumalanga. Some of the titles range as follows:

  • Financial mail “China’s Mpumalanga power grab” – 20 Sept 2018
  • Engineering news “DMR Mpumalanga office closed amid allegations of corruption” – 31 Aug 2018
  • Corruption Watch “2018 Analysis of Corruption Trends (ACT) Report – Corruption Watch PDF” – 07 Aug 2018
  • The Citizen “Mpumalanga will ‘suffer for years’ due to Mabuza’s ‘grip on the province’ – DA” – 07 Aug 2018
  • The New York Times “South Africa Vows to End Corruption. Are Its New Leaders Part of the problem?” – 04 Aug 2018
  • News24 “Man in court for alleged Mpumalanga housing scam” – 30 Jan 2017
  • News24 “77 Mbombela officials face suspension for corruption” – 22 Jan 2017
  • CIDB “Corruption and Quality Assurance in the Construction Industry PDF” – 03 Dec 2014
  • IOL News “Mbombela stadium fraud suspects charged” – 01 Mar 2013
  • SowetanLive “Motaung off the hook” – 07 Nov 2011
  • Daily Maverick “Mpumalanga’s corruption cancer grows every day” – 13 Jul 2011

The list is endless; it is just sad that the corruption has been allowed to spread with nothing being done about it. The argument may be that the police does its best to arrest these people. Indeed, I agree, but the bribe handed to the police is enough to get these people off.

This same corruption is the one that hinders young people from reaching their full potential. The nerve of someone in the Mpumalanga Government Complex Offices to tell an applicant the following “You have to submit your application, then call whoever is in HR to let them know that you submitted your application and ask the amount of money you need to pay for your application” is appaling.

Furthermore, this person goes on to tell you that, “you shouldn’t question the amount of money requested because the person in HR only gets a minimum of that amount, the majority of the money goes to the panel that will be interviewing a certain individual”.

What happened to the selection criteria set in motion? What happened to deserving candidates? It is sad because it simply means the candidate with enough money to pay for their job will get it. 

The “FRONTING” in most of the Construction companies and Quantity Surveying firms who claim to be B-BBEE Level 1 Contributors is shocking. Taking a walk into the doors of these companies will help understand what this means. 

When will the corruption stop? When will the students who leave Mpumalanga to attend tertiary education in other provinces be allowed to return home to provide their skills, services and experiences at home? When will the faculty of engineering and built environment be ready at the University of Mpumalanga? When will our leaders wake up and realise the real problems that our youngsters are facing? When will our economy pick up again?

Just a short preview of my life story, I am a graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand with a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Studies and an Honours degree in Quantity Surveying. Currently, I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Construction Project Management.

I have been to many government interviews, mostly the Department of Public Works, various construction companies and Quantity Surveying firms, with no success. I currently work for one of the biggest production and manufacturing companies as a sales representative; I am grateful I have a job, and I can pay all my living expenses, but the sad reality is that I feel like I am wasting away doing something I hate. 

The same corruption that is in the construction industry, whether from the leaders of this country or grass root levels is the same corruption that is instilled in the minds of the youngsters, setting a path they never intend to walk in.

The hope is lost, dreams are shattered, the young, educated minds of Mpumalanga are at home not knowing what to do anymore. The majority of construction graduates from Mpumalanga are out of their province, trying to make life happen in other provinces where they are still exploited, all in the name of employment. When will it stop?

Is this limited to our Province in Mpumalanga or does it also happen in other Provinces?

I would also appreciate any positive advise on how to regain my hope as an aspiring Hardhat Professional facing all these challenges in Mpumalanga.

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