Armed gangs acting with apparent impunity have forced the abandonment of 84 infrastructure projects worth more than R27bn and need to be stopped before SA becomes a mafia state, says Webster Mfebe, the CEO of the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors. Appeals to the government since June 2016 have fallen on deaf ears, says Mfebe, whose forum represents JSE-listed, non-listed and emerging construction companies. Now, following the worst such attack on a project in the Western Cape, which left it looking "like a war zone", he has written directly to President Cyril Ramaphosa and seven cabinet ministers appealing for immediate intervention. That was more than three weeks ago, and, so far, only finance minister Tito Mboweni has acknowledged receipt. None of the others, including Ramaphosa, has done even that. "The government response has been lethargic to say the least," says Mfebe, 59, a former National Union of Mineworkers trade union activist and ANC MP. He has been pl...

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