Bafikile Bonke Simelane
Bafikile Bonke Simelane, President of Master Builders South Africa

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT OF MASTER BUILDERS SOUTH AFRICA

Let’s build the South Africa of our dreams together

Compliments of the new season to all our readers and members of Master Builders South Africa. We trust you had a safe and restful festive season with your loved ones. We hope you are returning with renewed vigour ready to take on the challenges of what is likely, by most macro-economic indicators and commentators, to be yet another long and difficult year for our sector and our country.
In December the ratings agencies gave us what is widely interpreted to be yet another reprieve. We just need to come together as a country and as a nation to make our contribution to the extraction, harnessing and realization of the country’s infinite potential and intellectual capital despite the many socio-economic challenges brought about by poverty, unemployment and inequality that we continue to face.
Despite this we have much to celebrate, be optimistic about and look forward to. We look forward to The State President’s State Of The Nation address and the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance to set a positive tone and outlook for 2017 to underscore our resilience as a nation and as a sector despite the strong headwinds predicted with specific reference to economic growth forecasts which does not bode well for the country and the sector.
We congratulate the Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company (FEM) for their act of patriotism in establishing a R750 Million Education Fund through which they’ll partner with the Make A Difference (MAD) Leadership Foundation; with a core focus on generating much-needed additional skills in the building industry. A cursory glance at the Department of Higher Education and Training Report titled “List of Occupations in High Demand: 2015” gives an indication of the magnitude of the problem and potential crisis the country and the sector faces. We urge other corporates to follow FEM’s example and demonstrate their belief and confidence in the country’s future.
We also welcome the Settlement Agreement reached by the Government and Construction Companies implicated in the collusion scandal. We hope this heralds and ushers in a new chapter and the beginning of the restoration and building up of the trust deficit that was eroded by revelations of collusion and anti-competitive behaviour in our sector.
We look forward to the gazetting of the Construction Sector Charter Codes as a legislative instrument to drive and monitor the extent and pace of transformation in the sector. MBSA will continue to get its members to embrace and drive meaningful transformation as our contribution to the de-racialisation of the economy and the sector. It is however regrettable that this change has to be by force of legislation and not by a sense of patriotic duty. We need to move from a culture of perfunctory compliance to that of genuine commitment.
We also look forward to the finalisation of the Draft Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act which is currently under consideration by National Treasury.
In similar vein we look forward to the finalisation of the National Minimum Wage.
Let’s build the South Africa of our dreams together, united in our diversity.

Bafikile Bonke Simelane

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