In 2018, South Africa was shaken by a series of allegations relating to large and widespread corruption throughout the country. Given the huge sums associated with infrastructure contracts, it is an area which is particularly susceptible to interference in the tender process: in South Africa, state firms such as Eskom and Transnet – both responsible for delivering the country’s infrastructure investments – were no exception. In 2019 two former managers at Eskom, the country’s power firm, were arrested for alleged corruption and fraud worth 745m rand (US $51m) relating to contract manipulation.
Against this backdrop, CoST commissioned a scoping study into the level of transparency, accountability and stakeholder participation in the delivery of public infrastructure, with a view to ascertaining the added value of CoST in South Africa. The scoping study, which was delivered by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), was carried out through desk-based research and interviews with figures from the government, private sector and civil society.