COURAGE AND RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

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Bafikile Bonke Simelane, President, Master Builders South Africa

Bafikile Bonke Simelane, President, Master Builders South Africa

COURAGE AND RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

The Festive Season is now a distant memory as citizens and businesses alike in South Africa brace themselves and hunker down for what promises to be yet another long and difficult year especially exacerbated by the low-growth macro-economic environment that virtually the whole world finds itself in right now.

Despite these challenges we continue to encourage our members to remain optimistic and vigilant in these trying times that call for resilience and agility. It is important that we all cut through the background noise and remain focused.

We trust that the President’s State of The Nation address and the subsequent Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance will provide the necessary tonic to encourage and speed up the pace of infrastructure investment in the sector to act as a catalyst and stimulate much-needed confidence and activity in our sector despite the negative sentiment and expectations of political instability and economic uncertainty predicted by some analysts and political commentators.

We are also disturbed by reports of threats of violence and intimidation reported by our KwaZulu-Natal members on their construction sites and we denounce this as a means of conflict resolution while remaining sensitive to the grievances of the aggrieved parties.

We call on all stakeholders as well as all other interested and affected parties to engage meaningfully and constructively to find an amicable solution to resolve differences in a manner that benefits the industry as a whole now and into the future.

Perhaps we need our own Construction Indaba, similar to the Mining Indaba, where all stakeholders can come together to create a new future for the industry much like the Codesa negotiations that led to the political transition into democracy in the early 1990s.

I would continue to argue that perhaps we also need a “Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Construction Industry” to take a leaf from the mining industry. If this finds resonance with you please do not hesitate to contact the Master Builders SA office in Midrand.

We welcome the gazetting of the Preferential Procurement Regulations by National Treasury which come into effect on 1 April 2017. We urge our members to thoroughly familiarise themselves with the new rules in public sector procurement.

It is our considered opinion that the gazetting of these regulations will go a long way towards contributing to the main-streaming of emerging contractors for the transformation of the sector most of whom have been ‘emerging’ since the advent of the term some twenty or so years ago. We also have reason to believe that the National Minimum Wage is about to be signed into law.

We also look forward with eager anticipation to the gazetting of the Construction Sector Charter Codes in the not-too-distant future as this will provide much-needed policy and regulatory certainty to the entire construction economy value-chain to drive real and meaningful transformation for the overall sustainability of the sector.

Of course one of the key ingredients to the realisation of this vision is consistent and predictable economic growth in a stable macro-economic and political environment where opportunities are created for businesses and citizens to thrive and prosper as they create jobs and contribute to social cohesion, nation-building and the creation of a new society future generations can be proud of. It’s up to all of us to make it happen.

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