23 September 2019

A growing trust deficit
between the government and the private sector threatens to derail efforts to
turn around the struggling construction sector, but government is intensifying
its efforts to build meaningful relationships with the industry, Minister of
Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, said at the 118th Annual
General Meeting of the Master Builders and Allied Trades’ Association of the
Western Cape (MBAWC).

The leadership of the MBAWC
echoed the minister’s sentiment on the need for strong public-private
partnerships and they remain positive about the industry’s prospects.

Minister De Lille
acknowledged the downturn in the construction industry, but urged the sector to
welcome government’s much-touted R100bn infrastructure development fund
announced during SONA, which she
said will be ramped up alongside a drive to stamp out corruption and sharpen
the technical capacity of government.

Referring to insights gained
from the World Economic Forum on Africa, which was held in Cape Town recently,
Minister De Lille stressed that the gap in trust between the private sector and
government needed to be addressed saying partnerships are crucial because
government cannot do it alone.

The minister said she was
aware of fraud and corruption in her department and that she was working with
the Special Investigation Unit, the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority,
as well as undertaking civil litigation, to clean out the rot.

The minister also confirmed
that her focus currently is on making the tender process more transparent and
open. From October 2019 to March 2020, the department will be running 126
projects to the value of around R329m and all MBAWC members are encouraged to
monitor advertisements and tender notifications.

The Minister echoed President
Cyril Ramaphosa’s sentiments that projects need to move faster, confirming that
she is building a pool of engineers, project managers, spatial planners and
quantity surveyors in order to achieve this goal.

The underlying message
received through the Minister’s address was a message of hope and the MBAWC
echoes this wholly.

The MBAWC AGM welcomed
incoming President, Roy Hendricks, new Senior Vice President, Rick Volker, and
new Junior Vice President, Mark Fugard who all confirmed their enthusiasm for
playing a role in serving the Association and its members. 

“There are still cranes
peppering the Cape Town skyline,” said outgoing President, John Slingsby.
“There may not be as many, but they are still there, so all is not lost. We
have to remain optimistic about our country, optimistic about its future and
its ability to lead Africa.”

Delivering his first address
to members and guests of the Association, Hendricks said: “For 128 years, the
Association has proudly stood in service of our members and continued to add
value in an ever-changing industry and an ever-changing economy.

“We are living
in trying times of economic uncertainty and can only appeal to government for a
message of hope to be turned into a reality. Together with our
industry partners, we, at the Association, need government to know
that we are ready, willing and able to build this country into the magnificent
splendour we know it can be. Now more than ever, we need to stand together and
support one another as we fight to survive the current economic climate.”

In conclusion, he echoed
Winston Churchill’s iconic words: Success is not final; failure is not fatal.
It is the courage to continue that counts.


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