Murray & Roberts’s decision to exit SA infrastructure and building markets has shown up large cracks in the economy. It comes despite government plans to spend R4trillion on 18 categories of strategic infrastructure projects over 15 years, of which hundreds of billions have already been spent. The exit excludes the company’s shareholding in Gautrain operating companies that, according to Murray & Roberts CEO Henry Laas, are still in "fierce" litigation with the Gauteng provincial government. It also excludes projects being wound up in the Middle East, where no new business will be pursued. The decision by one of SA’s top construction and engineering groups may provide a significant opportunity for black economic empowerment. But what it really shows is that civil infrastructure development, such as in the mining and steel industries, is being held hostage by poor government industrial policy design and implementation, amid the fury and chaos of national politics. The infrastructure ...

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