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Keep The Bus Moving

SMME Inclusion in the Construction Sector

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South Africa Cities Network

01 May 2023


SACN Librarian

Research report

SA Cities Network


This report titled Keep The Bus Moving: SMME Inclusion in the Construction Sector addresses the growing issue of the "construction mafia," a term used to describe organised associations of small, medium, and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) in the construction industry engaging in practises involving violence, extortion, and threats. The phenomenon poses a significant threat to the construction sector and urban development, leading to disruptions on building sites across South Africa. The paper argues against the simplistic portrayal of these activities as a "mafia" and emphasises the need to understand the underlying complexities, including the failure of the construction sector to transparently and inclusively incorporate SMMEs.

Research by the South African Cities Network highlighted that disruptions caused by these forums significantly impede infrastructure delivery on large-scale city projects, wasting public funds and endangering the lives of city officials. Despite the detrimental impact on both private and public sectors, academic research on the subject remains limited. The report focuses on three metropolitan municipalities—Nelson Mandela Bay, Mangaung, and City of Johannesburg—exploring how city governments are engaging with business forums to prevent disruptions and showcasing innovative practises. The ultimate goal is to provide insights for other cities to implement better practises in dealing with the challenges posed by these forums and to advocate for a more transparent, regulated, and developmental approach to SMME inclusion in the construction sector.


Abstract based directly on source.


Website References

Built environment


Crime and security



Government programmes






Metropolitan municipalities

Nelson Mandela Bay



Safety & security

South Africa


Urban development

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