I was much taken with Tuesday’s editorial opinion, having worked in the construction industry for more than 50 years, the past 20 in Africa north of SA’s borders right up to Mali. (Jacob Zuma’s double trouble projects, September 12).

I have been involved in large projects and have often come across Chinese construction firms working on similar projects. I am particularly interested in the two projects in SA "championed" by the Chinese (along with our president) and no doubt being presented as investment in the country, with local manufacture of materials and goods and a large number of South Africans to be employed.

So, let’s look at the scenario being planned:

• SA will be beholden to China for billions of rand for many years to come;

• The projects will not go out to tender since it is already decided that they will be constructed by the Chinese construction company; and

• There will probably be no locals employed, at best a token few.

Who will design the projects to ensure they are cost-effective? Who will have oversight over the project? Who will have oversight on the price, budget and programme prior to any award? Dams and rail projects are notorious for large overruns, which makes them great for financial manoeuvring. Where will the material come from? Perhaps not locally? And finally, what guarantees are there that they will be on time and on budget? Penalties? I think not!

Mike EdwardsGallo Manor

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