When one considers the age of the various Master Builder South Africa (MBSA) member associations in South Africa (the oldest being Master Builders Association – Western Cape which clocked up 128 this year) we can be justifiably proud of an institution that has survived major economic and political fluctuations and remained the solid core of one of our country’s most vital industries.

John Matthews, President, Master Builders South Africa

MBSA’s nine members and three affiliates are autonomous, but all are united in their loyalty to the national body that flies the flag for the entire country’s construction community.

This year, our colleagues in the north will place yet another major milestone in the annals of our industry when they celebrate the 115th anniversary of what over the years, has become a conglomerate of four regions, now known as Master Builders Association North (MBA North).

MBA North resulted from a merger in 1996 of the Pretoria Master Builders Association (founded in 1903) and the Johannesburg Master Builders (formally constituted in 1904). It was called the Gauteng Master Builders Association (GMBA) until 2012, when it was given its current name incorporating four regions – Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

The unification of MBA North could be seen as a broad analogy for an ideal civil society, where like-minded groups are drawn together because of their commonality of purpose, and then consolidate their alliance for mutual benefit. It is a model collaboration – a constructive interaction for shared advantage, and a system that could broadly be applied across South Africa, to create the greater security and social union that we all need.

But, while all South Africans have doubts and apprehensions, we are no more unsure of the future than millions of our global compatriots. On a massive scale, whole nations are in complete ruin and others rock on the edge of disaster, held hostage by political battles for supremacy. The common thread in all this chaos is disunity. Even peace summits and ceasefires are characterised by threats and demands that have little to do with harmony but rather more with domination.

On May 8, we South Africans will again be faced with the decision about who should lead our country. For many the decision is easy – some traditionalists will stick with what they have come to think of as the only option, while others will have no trouble voting against what they may consider a failed leadership. Those whose concern is with unity may be more challenged for options.

But as a nation that advocates freedom, we are fortunate to still have a choice. The choice to cherish, protect and uphold, at all cost.


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