JSE-listed construction group Basil Read had lost work valued at R1,1-billion in Tanzania to a Chinese group, because it was not prepared to pay bribes, said CEO Marius Heyns on Friday as he announced the company’s financial results for the year ended December 31.
“We can make a fuss about it, but then we don’t get any jobs there again.
“As we wait for work to roll out in South Africa again, we want to go into Africa, but corruption is a problem.”
Heyns said Basil Read was again ready to seek construction work on the continent after it had experienced losses the last time it ventured cross-border.
He said Basil Read was already well entrenched in Botswana and Namibia, and was now also looking for work in Mozambique.
In Sierra Leone the company was working on the construction of a railway line, and in Zambia it was the preferred bidder for the construction of the Copper Belt toll road.
However, Heyns warned that Basil Read would only expand into Africa on its own terms, which meant doing work for selected clients only, with committed funding for a specific contract, and with upfront payments being made available.