Primekss leads enlightening SFRC workshop



Primekss leads enlightening SFRC workshop

Latvian based company, Primekss, a global leader in innovative concrete solutions, led another of its informative technical workshops in Johannesburg in March. The event, covered here by South African Builder, was staged in collaboration with ArcelorMittal.

The workshop, which focused on “The structural application of steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) in construction”, brought concrete manufacturers and suppliers, admixture producers, construction engineers, contractors, designers, architects and quantity surveyors together to hear Mr Xavier Destrée, recognised as a global authority on SFRC. Mr Destrèe is Consultant, Structural Engineer ArcelorMittal in Luxembourg.


Primekss leads enlightening SFRC workshop Brett Meadway Chris Howes and Wouter Van Der Westhuizen of CHC SA Concrete Floors, Brett Meadway – Primekss South Africa and Xavier Destrée – consultant, Structural Engineer ArcelorMittal

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Brett Meadway, Primekss SIA and the sole agent agent for ArcelorMittal South Africa

“It is our aim through these ongoing seminars and workshops to share the deep knowledge and expertise of these significant global players with South African construction engineers, architects and clients,” said the originator of this programme Brett Meadway, Primekss SIA and the sole agent agent for ArcelorMittal South Africa. “By raising the level of awareness in these important technical fields it is our aim to establish Primekss and ArcelorMittal as the experts in the market and leader in all steel fibre applications. These include, but are not limited to, slab on grade, slab on pile, rafts, piles and elevated slabs.”


ArcelorMittal’s specialised steel fibres as used in steel fiber reinforced concrete (SFRC)

Xavier Destrée is a civil engineer and a legend in this technology. Destrée has for many years been a consultant to ArcelorMittal in this technology and is the driving force behind the technical development and bedding down of the process in Europe. In addition, he authored the patent for making joint-free concrete for flooring and has played a leading role in its application in elevated slabs.


The SFRC workshop was well attended by key players in the South African construction sector who showed much interaction throughout

Leading into his presentation on the technology, Destrée outlined the origins of SFRC: “The concept of using steel fibre in concrete was first tested in 1908 and was originally patented in Paris,” he explained. “But very little was done until 1980 – and today, the technology has been perfected, whereby steel fibres 0,75 mm x 50 mm, produced and supplied by ArcelorMittal, are homogeneously blended with the concrete at the time of pouring.”
5--PRIMEKSS-IMG_6872This process, together with careful design and application of admixtures, virtually eliminates shrinkage,” continued Destrée. “The strength is also enhanced to the point where all required steel rebar is eliminated; shrinkage is virtually eliminated; and seamless concrete can be cast for high strength flooring or elevated slab applications.”

Over the past 15 years the total replacement of all traditional rebar by steel fibres has become completely routine in applications such as industrial and commercial suspended slabs on piles. Typically pile spacing is in the range 3 to 5 meters in each direction, with span to depth ratios from 15 to 20.

More than seven million square metres have been completed to date. More recently, the structural use of steel fibre-only reinforcement at a high dosage rate has been developed as the sole method of reinforcement for fully elevated suspended slabs, which span from 5 to 8 meters in each direction, with a span to depth ratio of 30, Destrée explained in considerable detail the various standards and tests that have evolved around this technology across the world in recent years, including both laboratory and full-scale tests, thus entrenching ArcelorMittal SFRC as a leader and primary solution for high strength steel fibre reinforced concrete in structural applications.


Steel fibre reinforced concrete construction has enabled freedom of design in the curved elevated slabs in this office building in Rocca al Mare, Estonia Photo:

He pointed out that the American Concrete Institute (ACI) in particular their ACI 544 6R 15 – Report on the construction of steel fibre reinforced elevated slabs, (co-written by Mr Xavier Destrée) which encompass design standards and construction standards, follow a most rigorous consensus process and are held in the highest esteem by the global construction sector.

In Estonia, Europe a full-scale test was carried out on a SFRC slab which a Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL) was applied. The test slab remained fully elastic showing deflections of less than 5 mm – which is an impressive span/depth ratio of 1200. These observations were continued over a seven day period without any increase in deflection. SFRC and anti-progressive collapse rebar In accordance with recent North American Standards, and now written into the ACI 544 6R 15, additional bottom rebar, known as anti-progressive collapse (APC) rebar, is installed from column to column, in order to prevent catastrophic collapse in the event of a sudden collapse of one or more columns.

PRIMEKSS-slide 35

Three point slab test

By the same token this technique has also gained strong inroads in its application in the successful spanning of any sudden development of sinkholes in – for example – dolomitic ground. In this way sinkholes of up to 20 m diameter can be spanned with SFRC slabs combined with APC rebar.




Primekss has a strong and growing presence in southern Africa and is headed up by Brett Meadway. The company aims to escalate the frequency of these workshop symposiums in cooperation with its partners ArcelorMittal and CHC SA Concrete Floors and continue to raise the awareness, benefits and applications of Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete.

For more information contact





SA Clay brick production – at the cutting edge of CO2 emissions reduction

1-eecb-swiss-DSC_2638SA Clay brick production – at the cutting edge of CO2 emissions reduction

By Dianne Volek

“What gets measured, gets managed.” Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, and author.
By examining an activity we are forced to pay attention to it. By producing relevant and accurate measurements we can identify where improvements are possible, and then track progress against the benchmark.

clay brick assocIt was with this intention that the Clay Brick Association of Southern Africa embarked on a three year project to complete South Africa’s first industry-wide Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for clay brick products.

The LCA was conducted by the University of Pretoria and co-funded by the National Research Foundation. The successful conclusion of the in-depth research study is a significant achievement for the Energy Efficient Clay Brick Project (EECB), an initiative funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented in South Africa by Swisscontact.

The mandate of the EECB project is to foster green and sustainable transformation in the Clay Brick sector by promoting technologies and methods that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the fossil-fuel-intensive production process.


The VSBK kiln at Langkloof Bricks, an energy-efficiency improvement project facilitated by the EECB Project, uses 82.5 grams of coal per kg of fired brick. Just 2.5 grams of this is external fuel during the firing process.

Benefits for the construction industry
South Africa is the largest CO2 emitter in Africa and the 12th largest in the world. While many people target vehicles as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, in fact the construction and operation of buildings (especially heating and cooling) makes up as much as 40% of all emissions.

The full LCA will allow architects to accurately calculate the lifetime environmental impact of using clay brick in a building, compared against other construction materials. Access to accurate data will make it easier to design “green” buildings that are naturally energy efficient.

Based on a weighted average, the production of 1kg of clay brick in South Africa is associated with the emission of 0.27 kg of CO2-equivalents. That is a total of 2.6 million tons of CO2 equivalents per year for the sector.

Due to the long life expectancy of brick, the environmental impact of clay brick production is conceptually spread over 50 years of building use and occupation. The thermal mass and natural insulating properties of clay bricks reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact, while offering long term savings in energy use. This makes clay brick an attractive option for both environmentally-conscious architects and cost-conscious property owners.

The findings of the LCA, which was completed at the end of 2016, will be released to the construction industry at a national roadshow later this year.

2-EECB-WorcesterBrick-energy-efficientKiln (1)

Worcester Brick’s new Habla zig-zag kiln not only improves product quality and reduces waste, but will more than halve the co2 emissions per brick produced.

Cutting CO2 emissions in brick-making
Even though environmental impacts from production are not dominant in the overall life-cycle, the clay brick sector is committed optimizing production processes.
The LCA findings from the extraction and production stage have already provided a direct and immediate benefit for CBA members. Brick-makers now have access to accurate and locally-relevant statistics on energy efficiency, emissions, strengths and challenges across a broad range of brick-making technologies.

The use of coal in brick-making accounts for most carbon emissions and pollutants like SO2 and nitrous oxides. Switching brick-makers to technologies proven to be more energy efficient will reduce South Africa’s total CO2 emissions and improve air quality.

Because brick-makers are constantly investing in more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technology, the CBA plans to periodically update the LCA to assess the sector’s progress in addressing environmental hot spots.

With the assistance of the Energy Efficient Clay Brick Project, various brick manufacturers have already reduced their energy consumption since the LCA’s 2012/3 data collection period. Some have invested in more efficient firing technologies which considerably reduce their fuel consumption.

Based on the new LCA research, clamp kilns at Worcester Brick in the Western Cape were using 129 grams of coal per kg of fired brick, whereas the new zig-zag kiln uses just 66 grams.
eecb-VSBK-employeeBackground information
The study adopts a holistic approach, evaluating all major environmental impacts as defined by the highly-regarded Impact 2002+ methodology: carbon footprint, ecosystems quality, natural resource depletion and damage to human health.
The study analyses the full life-cycle of clay brick:
raw material extraction and clay brick production;
construction including transport to site;
the operational life of the building, with the focus on heating and cooling energy and maintenance;
building end-of-life, disposal, recycling and reuse; and
social Life Cycle Assessment within the context of sustainable development.

The study was performed using specific production data from 86 out of the 102 clay brick production sites in South Africa which are members of the CBA. It is estimated that this covers about 95% of the South African national production.

The analysis was conducted in accordance with the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards with an external review. Figures are aggregated to protect the confidentiality of each company’s data.
The values for the electricity consumption during the operations phase of an average building in South Africa are based on the study “A thermal performance comparison between six wall construction methods frequently used in South Africa” (Vosloo et al., 2015) conducted by the University of Pretoria.

Key Production findings
Average production of 1 kg of clay brick in South Africa
3.46MJ of fossil energy
0.27 kg of CO2-equivalent emissions
Annual sector total
33.5 billion MJs of non-renewable energy consumed
2.6 million tons CO2 equivalent emissions

With respect to brick manufacturing, the main environmental impacts relate to the mining, production and burning of coal, which is the raw material used for combustion during firing.
Because South Africa relies on coal burning technology for the generation of electricity, changing to electric kiln technologies would not reduce environmental impact.

Master Builders South Africa supports call for Construction Summit

Master Builders South Africa supports call for Construction Summit
The saddening and unsavoury scenes witnessed in the National Assembly during the State President’s delivery of the State Of The Nation Address (SONA) was perhaps indicative of the real ‘state of the nation’ and the political headwinds we are likely to face, expect and navigate through as a nation and as a sector in the coming year or two.

Bafikile Bonke Simelane

Bafikile Bonke Simelane

In keeping with last month’s theme of ‘courage and resilience in the face of adversity’ it was refreshing and reassuring to listen to the Finance Minister’s 2017/18 Budget Speech. “Fellow South Africans, if we make the right choices and do the right things we will achieve a just and fair society, founded on human dignity and equality. We will indeed transform our economy and country so that we all live in dignity, peace and well-being”.

Transformation dominated both the State President’s SONA and the Finance Minister’s speech to emphasise and underscore the imperative of this being a necessary precondition for the achievement of a just, fair and egalitarian society that the Finance Minister alluded to and to which all South Africans aspire. The Finance Minister went on to say “our growth challenge is intertwined with our transformation imperative. We need to transform in order to grow, we need to grow in order to transform”.

Master Builders South Africa is committed to play its part in mobilising its members to get fully behind the country’s transformation agenda without which there may be no country or nation to speak of.
It is for this reason that we support the call by Minister Ebrahim Patel for a Construction Summit to be held in the next three to four months; echoing our sentiments in last month’s edition for the need for a Construction Indaba similar to the Mining Indaba.

Whilst we are encouraged by the establishment and mobilisation of the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme (VRP), we are concerned by recent media statements which seem to indicate some discord among and between various interested and affected parties. Master Builders SA remains willing and available to be part of the solution towards the amicable resolution of any impasse in its commitment to accelerate the extent and pace of transformation.

We also wish to congratulate the Technical Review Committee (TRC) of the Construction Sector Charter Council (CSSC) for the selfless work they are doing in collating and sifting through all comments received so that the Draft Construction Sector Charter can be presented to Minister Rob Davies for signing and gazetting.

We remain optimistic that this can be achieved during the course of April so that it coincides with the coming into effect of the new Preferential Procurement Regulations on 1 April 2017.

Have a Blessed Human Rights Day! Let us pause, reflect with a collective conscience, and appropriately commemorate the ultimate sacrifice of those unarmed and defenceless people that lost their lives in Sharpeville and Langa on that fateful day in March 1960.
Bafikile Bonke Simelane

Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO

jailmonopoly15-MBA N TRANSPORT RISK-DSC_2942







Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO

Dolus Eventualis – are you complying or not?

In February Master Builders Association North staged an eye-opening seminar in Midrand: “Managing Risk in Transport Operations”.

Organised under the auspices of the MBA – North’s Construction Health and Safety Division by Construction Health and Safety Manager Gerhard Roets, the event aimed at – and certainly succeeded – in shocking the audience by exposing the full extent and capability of the law when it comes to prosecution of company owners and directors indirectly responsible for injury or death resulting from negligent transport-related incidents and accidents in the construction sector.

2-MBA N TRANSPORT RISKDSC_2980MBA North members in attendance included operators and managers of vehicle fleets,
decision makers responsible for specification of vehicle fitness and payloads and SHEQ managers overseeing safety of vehicle fleets and drivers.

The formidable array of speakers from the legal, insurance and transport fraternities pulled no punches in laying down the law.

1MBA N TRANSPORT RISK-IMG_6731First up was Herman Enoch, Marketing and Communications Manager, Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), introduced by the inimitable Paul Adams, MBA North’s MC for the day.

Enoch described in considerable detail the mostly unseen “Incident Indirect human tragedy costs” – the consequences of transportation accidents and claims. “In the case of a death the surviving family receives only 75% of the pension, of which 40% goes to the spouse and 20% to three kids. For them only entry level wages can be expected for the future with little or no career growth and no possibility of lifestyle improvement. To make matters worse there is little or no education for kids and no broader family support,” said Enoch.

“For the company, staff morale is low, Union interference can be expected, coupled with withering company reputation through legal action and sharp reduction in new contracts.

3-MBA N TRANSPORT RISK-IMG_6733The next eye-opener was delivered by Advocate Phyllis Vorster regarding prosecution of a corporate body: “On permission alone a director can be held liable. No intent is necessary. Even if a director leaves the company, if he had knowledge of the event he can still be prosecuted.”

Vorster, who flaunted her considerable depth of legal knowledge, went on to describe how the company corporate body, the company representative and the driver of the vehicle can each be prosecuted and where the corporation is still liable.

“In a form of intention through Dolus Eventualis, a company director can be convicted if he “had known the driver had not slept for 12 hours” for example. Then you WILL go to jail for a minimum of 15 years on a murder count,” warned Voster.

MBA N TRANSPORT RISK4-IMG_6737Dave Marais, CEO of Thabo Training and expert in the reconstruction of accidents and vehicle inspection, did not spare the horses either. “To say “I did not know” is not an excuse,” he said. “It is easy to be charged if you: allow overloading; allow defects; deploy unfit drivers. To this end the Road Traffic Safety management System is being put in place.

“The biggest risk is the driver, thus training is essential.”


Dolus Eventualis:
Advocate Gerrie Nel, simplified the concept of Dolus Eventualis. “If any reasonable person is able to foresee harm or death resulting from an action, or lack of an action, on their part, they need to address it. If they fail to do so they will be held liable.”

DoL requires your comment: New Draft Ergonomic Regulations

DOL_280x250DoL requires your comment: New Draft Ergonomic Regulations

Master Builders South Africa urges all Master Builders Associations and their members, as well as Master Builders SA Affiliate members, to peruse the New Draft Ergonomics Regulations and send their comments to Department of Labour (DoL) or their local MBA’s.

This follows a workshop held at NHLS in Modderfontein in January 2017 by the Department of Labour regarding public comment for the New Draft of the Ergonomics Regulations.

MBA’s shall forward all comments received to the national office of Master Builders SA for the attention of Ms Itumeleng Leshoedi, Manager: Occupational Health and Safety, Master Builders SA: no later than 28 April 2017. Ms Leshoedi will consolidate all comments in a report format and submit to DoL before the end of May 2017 – the cut-off date for all comments.

The new Regulations focus on a Risk Management Programme to approach to manage physical and cognitive ergonomics risks in the workplace and shall apply to employers or self-employed persons.

Our construction industry is dominated by a significant amount of manual handling and repetitive activities which in turn impact on the physical muscle strains, tensions and mental capabilities for full concentration which can result in multiple incidents and injuries.

The programme is aimed at bridging the gap between designers, manufactures, suppliers and end-user’s machinery and equipment.


Notice to All Employers Registered with the Compensation Fund

The 2016 deadlines for the return of earnings submission has been extended and will open from 1 April- 31 May 2017. Employers who will fail to submit their return by 31 May 2017, may face penalty not exceeding 10% of the amount assessed in terms of Section 83 (6) of COIDA.

Statement delivered by Black Business Council in the Built Environment

3 March 2017

Statement delivered by Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE) Secretary General: Mr Gregory Mofokeng

The South African government and seven listed construction companies signed the Settlement Agreement (SA) on 11 October 2016 paving the way for the implementation of the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme (VRP). The VRP is a program for redress post the findings of the Competition Commission (CC) and subsequent Fast Track Settlement Process between the CC and the fifteen (15) construction companies. It was initially concluded between the South African Forum for Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) representing seven listed construction companies and the Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE) representing the emerging sector on 10 December 2013.

The BBCBE and SAFCEC presented the VRP to government in early 2014 for its support and implementation. Throughout this process the BBCBE received unqualified support from its mother-body the Black Business Council (BBC).

Since the signing of the Settlement Agreement, the narrative around this programme has served to undermine the role of the BBC and BBCBE (collectively referred to as Black Business) and has effectively diluted our role to be that of beneficiaries and not architects of the programme. As far as some of the stakeholders are concerned, (especially the listed companies), an impression has been created that we have been mere spectators from being the co-architects of this very important programme.

Government released a media statement on 13 February 2017 updating the nation on the implementation of the VRP. The statement outlined two pillars of the VRP.

Tirisano Trust Fund Pillar

The first pillar is the establishment of the Tirisano Trust Fund (the Fund) to be capitalized to the tune of R1.5bn over the next 12 years. Black Business agrees broadly with the objectives of the Fund. In addition, we have made a submission to government proposing that 50% of the funds (R600m) should be invested back in the industry in the form of working capital and construction guarantees for emerging companies.

Our proposal envisages the creation of a fund to be managed by a development finance institution such as the IDC or NEF, with the provision that they match the funding from industry to ensure the Funds’ sustainability and better coverage nationally. This will ensure that the benefits of the VRP reach beyond companies that will benefit from work packages and equity from the listed companies, thus facilitating economic justice.

Transformation Pillar

The second pillar relates to transformation: Under this pillar established companies have an option to either make available 25% of their annual turnover to be implemented by the emerging sector consortia or to sell equity of not less than 40% to black investors.

Black Business’ position on the transformation pillar is that it must benefit a broad beneficiary base.

There must be absolutely no room for narrow BEE transactions previously employed in the country and specifically in the construction industry which resulted in the industry being one of the least transformed sectors of the economy.

With regards to the annual turnover option, Black Business’ position is that it must be accessed by consortia as opposed to individual companies. Emerging companies that have been accommodated thus far under this programme have already joined forces with other black-owned emerging companies to form consortia that are geared towards implementing the work packages. These consortia are constituted by a maximum of five (5) companies. They are expected to subcontract black subcontractors and further to procure from black consultants, suppliers and manufacturers. Thus enabling empowerment in the industry value chain.

We have worked closely with WHBO and Raubex to select black consortia that will benefit from the allocation of work packages. We note with interest from the government’s media statement that Stefanutti Stocks has identified two emerging companies to partner with.

We state categorically that should Stefanutti Stocks not open discussions with us on the regularization of these companies and their willingness to partner with other black companies and buy into our broad based beneficiary model we will not support their partnership.

Black Business’ position is that the 25% turnover target must be effective from year one of implementation and not progressively over a seven year period. The established companies should not be allowed to include the emerging companies’ turnover (generated from their own business initiatives) as part of the turnover generated from the VRP. The established companies have played no role in generating such turnover and therefore can’t lay claim to it.

Murray and Roberts, Aveng and Group Five have decided to embark on the equity transaction route. Our position is that consortia that are going to buy into these companies must be led and majority owned by contractors. The established companies colluded in the construction industry. Therefore, the primary beneficiaries must be contractors and not only black investors with the financial muscle to buy such equity without the necessary demonstrable track record of successfully running a construction company.

The objective of the VRP is to engender fundamental transformation throughout the operations of the established companies and not only at the ownership level. The modus operandi employed by classic BEE investment companies and private equity players often serve only to temper with the ownership profile of businesses. We need black investors who will become operationally involved and make sure that transformation cascades to all operations of the business all the way to construction sites.

We don’t need black investors who will acquire these shares and spend all their time playing golf and dining at upmarket restaurants, drinking expensive whisky and smoking exotic cigars and bragging to their friends about their impressive investment portfolio in the construction industry whilst waiting for their dividend cheques or on the trot to conclude another BEE transaction in a different sector of the economy. We want black shareholders who understand how construction companies operate in order to maximize the benefits that must accrue to black players along their companies’ value chain such as subcontracting, material and equipment supply.

The reality is that companies that are opting to sell shares to black investors will end up either being wholly-black owned, majority black owned or significantly black owned. We have informed government that we expect these companies to appoint black executives. These includes the CEO, commercial and operations executives. We are strongly opposed to the current norm of appointing black executives to non-core positions such as human capital development, corporate services and government relations.

We expect them to also transform operationally in how they engage black consultants, subcontractors, suppliers and manufacturers. These companies can’t be black owned and continue business as usual in their operations. We expect them to subcontract the majority of their subcontracting opportunities to black owned, managed and controlled subcontractors and to procure services from black consultants, suppliers and manufacturers. We are unapologetic about this stance.

Thus far we have had very meaningful engagements with Group Five. However, it must be highlighted that this was under the impression that they will take the annual turnover route and not the equity transaction option as recently reported. We will continue to engage with them under this recently-preferred approach. We want to make it clear to Group Five that the consortia, they had gone through a protracted and meticulous process to select, must be given preference to other companies that might be considered in constituting a consortium to acquire shares in their business. We will strongly oppose any deviation from this.

Discussions are ongoing with regards to the Kutana Construction transaction with Aveng. We are encouraged by the willingness of the principals at Kutana to acknowledge the position of black business with regards to the consortium/SPV being majority contractor owned and led. This message must be sent to the Aveng shareholders, they must understand that Black Business will accept nothing less.

We are extremely disappointed with the opportunistic manner in which the Murray and Roberts and Southern Palace transaction was concluded. The Murray and Roberts CEO, Mr. Henry Laas was involved in the VRP discussions from the onset. In these discussions, there was acknowledgement that traditional BEE transactions didn’t bring about the desired transformation outcomes for the industry and that future transactions must be led by contractors who have vested interest in the industry.

The structure of this deal is irrefutable proof that Mr. Laas was disingenuous in his engagement with industry stakeholders and he has since cowardly avoided having a meeting with Black Business to discuss this transaction.

In light of this, we have since written a letter to Southern Palace requesting a meeting with them. This letter remains unacknowledged nor responded to. We subsequently wrote another letter spelling out our two options that they have in order for this transaction to enjoy our support. The first option is for them to allow a contractor consortium to own an effective 51% equity in Murray and Roberts and the second is to make available 25% of their annual turnover to black contractors. A corrupt company remains such, notwithstanding the racial profile of its ownership and management.

Basil Read remains uncooperative and recalcitrant. We have written letters to its CEO, Mr. Neville Nicolau and he simply hasn’t bothered to even acknowledge their receipt. Basil Read must know that we will oppose any transaction that will not meet our demands. We urge them to come to the negotiation table now before seeking shareholder approval and announcing their transaction to the market. If they don’t, they will be compelled by circumstances to review the transaction and this will be very uncomfortable for the executives involved including Mr. Nicolau.

We also have a problem of black companies who seem to think that they have a birth right to benefit from the VRP. We want to make it very clear that if you are a black company and you don’t want to share the benefits of this programme with other black companies either as consortium members, subcontractors or suppliers of goods and services we will make sure that you are effectively removed from this programme. This programme must and will drive transformation throughout the construction industry value chain.

The sad reality is that we have black owned construction companies that rely on an ecosystem dominated by white owned subcontractors, suppliers and manufacturers and they are not prepared to give a chance to other black owned value chain players because they are considered small and unreliable. We must change such a perception by giving them an opportunity to participate in programmes such as the VRP thus allowing them a chance at growth and sustainability.

We look forward to companies benefiting from both the annual turnover arrangement and the equity transactions procuring their core and non-core services from black owned companies. Non-core goods and services procured by the construction industry include but are not limited to:

· Legal Services;

· Accounting & Auditing;

· Office Accommodation;

· Temporary Site Accommodation;

· Security;

· Contract Cleaning;

· Banking;

· Insurance;

· Construction Guarantees;

· ICT;

· Marketing & Advertising;

· Safety Clothing.

We reiterate our resolute stance that companies that would be found not supporting other black companies in their respective value chains will be kicked out of the programme.

In our discussions, some of the established sector companies have threatened to close down their businesses instead of aligning themselves with the vision espoused by Black Business to empower more people under this programme. They want to empower a few individuals they are connected with at the expense of the many in the industry. We want to encourage them to stop threatening and simply proceed to close down such businesses. It will be one less competitor to the companies that are doing the right thing.

In order to make certain that their exit from the industry is permanent, we have written to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) informing them that we will take decisive action against it should it allow for the transfer of track record from any of the colluders to a new or alternative company.

Black Business has significant levers at its disposal, notwithstanding the signing of the Settlement Agreement, including but not limited to deregistration and blacklisting to ensure compliance with our vision by the established companies. We will not hesitate to utilize these should it be absolutely necessary.

Construction Industry Transformation Experiment

This is an opportune time for black players in the construction industry to define how they must be empowered and how should the sector be transformed. Since the implementation of transformation laws were implemented white monopoly capital has always dictated the pace, shape and form of transformation.

Black businesses are still subjected to a demeaning process of “beauty contesting” themselves before white capital who have the final say on which black consortia or investment holding company is prettier and sophisticated compared to the rest and as such deserves a seat at their dinner table. It is the same white capital that has the audacity to blame government for the slow pace of transformation and for creating narrow BEE, when in practice they are the ones to blame.

Black Business is adamant that things must change under the VRP. We want to realize permanent Radical Economic Transformation using this programme. We consider the design and implementation of the VRP as an experiment. We therefore must be allowed the space to implement it because everything else that was implemented thus far hasn’t worked. We must define and be co-implementers of our own transformation journey.

To those black companies who view this programme as a get-rich-quick scheme and have a false sense of exaggerated self-importance to a point where they want to benefit alone to the exclusion of others, there is no room for you in this programme.

Black Business is alert to the real risk of black beneficiaries engaging in fronting with their white partners. We will expose such nefarious arrangements and make sure that the conspirators face the full might of the law as their activities will undermine the objectives of this programme.

Deregistration and Blacklisting of non-signatories to the Settlement Agreement

We have written to the CIDB requesting that it initiates the investigation process that will lead to deregistration of the rest of the companies found guilty of collusion but have opted not to be part of the VRP. We are looking forward to receiving a progress report from them in this regard.


In conclusion we must remind all and sundry that the established companies colluded. This programme is not being implemented simply because the established sector had a Damascus Moment, it is being implemented because they want to continue enjoying the benefits of doing business with the public sector.

Had they not colluded we wouldn’t be talking about the VRP. This programme is to punish them for breaking the law. Therefore, they must not parade themselves as genuine messiahs and champions of transformation who have always wanted to deliver the industry to the promised land of real and meaningful transformation but somehow miraculously dismally failed to do so for the past 23 years.

To us the alternative is simple, they must be blacklisted from doing business with government and deregistered with industry regulators for contravening their respective codes of conduct because they were found to be CORRUPT.

Africa: mine the sun… the energy is there


Louis Shaffer

Africa: mine the sun… the energy is there

These are the words of Louis Shaffer, Distributed Energy Segment Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa Region, Eaton during an exclusive interview with South African Builder following his participation in two panel discussions at the Africa Energy Indaba held in Sandton in February – one on the future of the energy mix in Africa and one on how to maximise the renewable opportunities in Africa.

The myriad power solutions being examined and rolled out across Africa include the high-end long-term and costly infrastructure power utility projects such as coal-fired and nuclear installations, solar thermal plants, geo-thermal plants and extensive wind farms – through to the more modest yet highly effective photovoltaic (PV) solar panel arrays.


A PV solar array installation at the Hospital-de-Labe in Guinea

Large scale power generation entails large investments, long project lead times and complex investor and project management requirements. In contrast, small and medium scale PV solar is affordable, straightforward to install – even in rural areas – and is extremely efficient. “The future for Africa’s power is without doubt going to include a large proportion of solar power,” said Shaffer. “Whilst the larger power generation options are still necessary and will forge ahead at government level – private homes, schools, clinics communities, company buildings and urban segments are all able to take advantage of solar with immediate results. For Africa, solar is the way forward for the majority of such solutions.”

Drone in Uganda Solar Now SunFunder SolarNow Uganda Aerial Drone Photos of Solar Projects

For Africa, solar is the way forward

Furthermore, the cost of energy storage continues to drop dramatically,” continued Shaffer. “Lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion) projects are being built now that are four times larger than a few years ago, but at less than half the price, equating to a 90% drop in cost. And constantly improving technology will continue to drive this trend. Furthermore, the life of Li-ion batteries projects are often more than 10 years, making them a much more attractive option to conventional lead-acid batteries when coupled to a PV solar panel array.”

Couple this with the fact that rapid drop in the price of solar, and affordability is no longer a blocker for rapidly increasing access to low cost electrical power for Africa”

Is there a “quick fix” for Africa? “Mine the sun,” replied Shaffer. “The continent has an abundance of solar energy which can be tapped quickly, cost effectively and efficiently. Through community, small urban projects and corporate solar installations – coupled to effective storage systems – these installations can play a key role in stabilising the grid. In fact one such site was told afterwards that they had actually improved the performance of their local grid.”

Louis Shaffer has a BSc in Engineering Physics from the University of California at Berkeley. Having worked in the US, Asia, and Europe, Louis is currently based in Eaton’s EMEA headquarters in Morges, Switzerland.

His career of more than 20 years has included progressively higher positions in engineering, sales, service, and marketing.

Louis has worked for Eaton since 2011, where he is currently the Distributed Energy Segment Leader for Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Eaton’s Electrical division.

Energy increasingly comes from diverse sources, impacting all aspects of power generation, distribution, and end user usage. In his current role, Louis focuses on how the rapidly growing applications and technologies for energy storage and micro-grids, can solve the challenges that come from this changing energy landscape in both developed and emerging markets.


The Khi Solar One central tower CSP plant near Upington, South Africa (Image: Abengoa)

What next Africa? …

RICS Africa Summit 2017

RICS Africa Summit 2017

What next Africa? …

RICS Africa Summit 2017: Land and Rapid Urbanisation in Sub-Saharan Africa
The slump in economic growth in Africa over the past five years has been a setback, but it should not cloud the bigger picture of a youthful continent urbanising rapidly and set to supply the global workforce of the future. The challenge of developing sprawling settlements into sustainable cities was at the heart of the 2017 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Africa Summit in Johannesburg in February. Roz Wrottesley reports:
“Be Africa-optimists!” urged the Africa Summit chair, CNBC presenter Gugulethu Cele, in her opening address to the gathering of local and international academics, practitioners in the property, construction and finance sectors and government representatives from all over sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Amanda Clack RICS President and Head of Infrastructure UK

Amanda Clack RICS President and Head of Infrastructure UK

Amanda Clack RICS President and Head of Infrastructure UK, set the tone by issuing a passionate call for collaboration in the transformative journey that lies ahead for Africa – where, as one speaker pointed out, 70% of the buildings needed to accommodate half of the world’s population by 2050 have yet to be built.

Africa rising
Keynote speaker, Bennet Kpentey, Chief Executive and Managing Consultant at Sync Consult in Accra, Ghana, set the scene for an approaching African renaissance by highlighting magazine covers that demonstrate how quickly perceptions of Africa can change. In the late 1980s, Time magazine trumpeted “Africa’s Woes” and “The Agony of Africa”. A decade later, more than one cover reflected “Africa Rising”, while the austere Harvard Business Review of October 2013 provided “Seven Reasons Why Africa’s Time is Now”.

On the other hand, the “shine beyond the gloom”, he said, includes Africa’s increasing resilience to global economic crises; a growing workforce expected to number a world-leading 1.1bn in 2034; urbanisation that has overtaken India and is hot on the heels of China; rising household consumption and a burgeoning middle class – hinting at the huge market Africa will become; and an extraordinary understanding of the transformative power of technology, with smart phone ownership soaring from 2% in 2010 to 50% in 2020.

Bennet Kpentey, Chief Executive and Managing Consultant at Sync Consult in Accra, Ghana

Bennet Kpentey, Chief Executive and Managing Consultant at Sync Consult in Accra, Ghana

Kpentey pointed out that Africa has a tendency to defy expectations – citing the staggeringly rapid adoption of ICT (information and communications technology) and a leap in FDI (foreign direct investment) from US$10bn to US$55bn in the 15 years between 2000 and 2015. To exploit the potential of the continent, he called for strategies focused on the diversification of economies, rapid acceleration of infrastructure development, growth of manufacturing, the introduction of pro-private sector (particularly pro-SMEs) policies, and, of course, a no-tolerance approach to corruption.

“Build strong cities through supported decentralisation,” said Ian Palmer, retired Director of development consultancy PDG in South Africa and a professor in the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. “Improve access to finance by improving rates systems and development charges; reform state-owned entities, which provide most urban services; reform land regulation by reviewing legislation and improving local government capacity; and focus on informal settlements, introducing innovative tenure arrangements, making basic services available and providing access to small loans for housing.”

Whilst Jacob Mamabolo, MEC for Infrastructure Development in Gauteng, spoke of alternatives to PPPs (public/private partnerships). His department’s policy is to approach infrastructure decisions with three priorities in mind – transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation.

PPP is too costly for government, and his department has come up with a creative new funding mode: the “precinct model”, which entails the province making “good, serviced land” available for development and assisting investors through project management efficiencies and cost savings.

RICS aims to play a key role in the coordination of qualifications and standards in the areas of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure across Africa in the crucial decades ahead.

Photos: John Thomé

Master Builders South Africa – Congress 2017: Call for Papers

MASTER BUILDERS NEW LOGOMaster Builders South Africa – Congress 2017: Call for Papers

This is a call for submission of topic and/or speaker suggestions to be considered for inclusion in the 2017 Master Builders Congress programme. Submissions received will be evaluated on the basis of relevance, business value, innovation and alignment to the event theme. Interested parties are requested to complete and return the attached by close of business Thursday, 16 March 2017.

About Master Builders Congress
The Master Builders Annual Congress is a major highlight on the construction industry calendar that is aimed at addressing immediate issues and opportunities within the South African building and construction industry. It is an inclusive event, covering contributions from government, building industry leaders and all relevant stakeholders. Attendance is by leaders and owners of established and emerging businesses in the industry, senior government officials from sector departments, representatives from local government, financial institutions, suppliers in the construction industry and many more. Approximately 350 delegates are expected to attend this year’s event

10 – 12 September 2017, Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town

Wilmot elected President of MBA North

mba_n_logorgbWilmot elected President of MBA North

Master Builders Association North elected Jason Wilmot, director of Sir John Hire, as President at its 113th Annual General Meeting held in Midrand on 2 February 2017. Musa Shangase, Commercial Director of Corobrik was elected Vice President and Wayne Albertyn of Gothic Construction as Junior Vice President.

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Musa Shangase, Jason Wilmot and Wayne Albertyn

Bongani Malazi as re-elected President of the MBA North Youth Forum for a second two year term.

Also resent at this auspicious occasion were Honorary life members Peter Buchel, Nico Maas and Rob Giuricich; and Past President’s Nico Maas, Neil Duncan and Lee Smith. 

During my tenure as President I believe we have achieved the goal of building a solid team around the MBAN Executive Director,” said outgoing President Tony Riley. “The new staff are of a high calibre and are key to is energised Association achieving its goals.

During the 2016 financial year the drawdowns on the Association’s reserves were reduced by 30 percent. This continues the effort by the whole MBA North team to ultimately eliminate drawdowns entirely in 2017/2018.

Transformation of the Organisation is key to long term success and industry relevance, the MBAN has continued the journey in 2016 and this has seen the face of the Executive team change significantly.

It is my belief that at times like these, the relevance of MBAN and other MBA associations countrywide are at their strongest. It is our role to represent the interests of our members at the highest level at all times, from a position of being the voice of the industry, within the auspices of the Master Builders South Africa (MBSA),” concluded Riley.

Master Builders Association – North Executive Committee for 2017/2018 is as follows:

Mr Wayne Albertyn – Gothic Construction

Mr Rob Blackbeard – Steel Studio

Mr Brad Boertje – Liviero

Mr Deon Calitz – WBHO Construction

Ms Penny Cornelius – Pro-Plan Construction

Mr Jose Correia – Tiber Construction

Mr Mandla Danisa – 4Square Projects Group

Mr I Duncan – Kevin Bates Flooring & Carpeting

Mr Werner Kroon – W.F Kroon Projects

Mr Bongani Malaza – Ubuhlebethu Business Enterprise

Mr James Martin – SA Paving

Ms Gretchen Matthews – Constructive Consulting Group

Mr Andrew McFarlane – Damp King

Mr Christian Micha – Archstone Construction

Mr Sello Mokawane – SNS Plumbing & Projects

Mr Michael Moloto – M2M Projects

Mr Tony Riley – Builders Warehouse

Mr Musa Shangase – Corobrik

Mr Fanie Stadler – Murray & Roberts

Ms Liana van der Walt – Edelweiss Glass & Aluminium

Mr J Wilmot – Sir John Hire

Mr H Wolfswinkel – HJ Wolfswinkel

Mr Moses Maponyane – Liviero has been nominated as a co-opted Exco Committee member


Master Builders Association North Executive Committee 2017/2018: Standing from Left: Mr C Micha, Mr B Malaza, Mr F Stadler, Mr M Shangase, Mr J Wilmot, Mr W Albertyn, Mr J Martin, Mr W Kroon, Mr H Wolfswinkel Seated from Left: Mr S Mokawane, Mr M Danisa, Mr B Boertje, Ms G Matthews, Mr M Mphomela, Mr T Riley, Mr M Maponyane

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Rob Price

Guest speaker Rob Price, economist for Investment Solutions in a pragmatic yet light-hearted way spoke of “2017 – The Year After the End of The World,” reflecting a degree of optimism for the future. Despite tough conditions there is a sliver lining on the horizon.