Eben Meyburgh: CEO – GVK-Siya Zama
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA 2021), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the R100 billion Infrastructure Fund is now in full operation. He said that infrastructure projects that have been planned will lead to the revival of the construction industry and the creation of much-needed jobs.
With this in mind, Eben Meyburgh, the CEO of GVK-Siya Zama Building Contractors said that he believes the industry has potential to help kickstart the economy the 2020 COVID-19 induced decline. “As the public sector is investing in various civils projects, we hope to see a positive knock-on effect when it comes to increasing work opportunities for related industries such as building construction, material manufacturing, engineering, architecture and electrical construction.”
He added that challenges brought by the pandemic and slow economic growth would persist in 2021. Even though expenditure in the private sector was expected to improve, this would not be sufficient to offset the slowdown in public sector work, he said. As such, a rise in disruptions caused by the construction mafia could be seen. He added that government has the opportunity of making a considerable contribution towards averting the risk to industry and the labour force by accelerating project awards.
Despite these challenges, Meyburgh pointed out that there was cause for optimism as the industry starts building its way back to positive growth in 2021. “The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan has helped to address some of the uncertainty in the construction industry and players in the sector are currently in engagements with Government regarding the rollout of strategic integrated infrastructure projects to revive the economy” he said.
Meyburgh is confident that the construction industry will be able to successfully navigate 2021 as the sector is now better equipped and able to deal with the continuing challenges brought about by COVID-19. “The lessons we learnt last year will definitely assist us to handle crises that we may face, and construction teams are armed with effective ways of ensuring their own safety and that of others on site and in their personal lives.”
“The sector, therefore, needs to be ready to take advantage of these opportunities and I believe that the key theme of this year is to accept and embrace change, partner with industry stakeholders to find solutions and create opportunities for growth, and growing people.”
Like most South Africans, Meyburgh points out that the team at GVK-Siya Zama has learnt to embrace change and upheaval. “More than anything, we place emphasis on the importance of retaining and building trusted relationships with all stakeholders and supporting one another through these difficult times. Working together and uniting with our colleagues, clients, sub-contractors, suppliers and other industry players has strengthened us as individuals and as a company.”
Meyburgh urged construction industry peers to remain positive. “It is incumbent upon us to contribute to the revival of the economy by being solutions oriented, improving efficiencies and driving alternative and sustainable building methods. “I implore industry leaders to proactively drive innovation and creative thinking to successfully grow the industry in 2021.”