Calls for more efforts towards BBBEE in built environment

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Black Businesses in the built environment have called for more efforts towards broad-based black economic empowerment.

The views were expressed during the two-day inaugural Black Business Council Built Environment Indaba at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

The Indaba saw Ministers of Public Works, Transport and Human Settlements engage with the business sector on different concerns.

Government has committed to public-private partnerships to address infrastructure project backlogs.

Two days of robust engagements and reflection on the state of the country’s-built environment industry.

Those in the sector agree that there is still a long way to go, citing the lack of a skills pipeline, crime and corruption in the industry, procurement red tape and delayed payments from government projects, as some of the issues that have hampered transformation in the sector.

“The Challenges are very very immense. The premier also talked about making Sedibeng a Dubai but there are challenges there. The moratorium that is lifted on challenges of buildings, we need to sort that so we can part and parcel, we have projects that we want to see happening there of major infrastructure development in Emfuleni but now it cannot happen,” says Emfuleni resident Mike Kani Ramajoa.

The state of the country’s Human Settlements came under the spotlight on the last day of the Indaba.

Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi admitted that the lack of partnerships and poor infrastructure development, have impeded service delivery through unfinished projects. She has called for public-private partnerships in the rollout of community projects.

“We have to work together; government will do its part but we must also create opportunities for you as entrepreneurs to be able to participate. If you look at the areas we are focused on, you realise that it is important to also acknowledge that there are fiscal constraints, so if we are to think that funding from government is the sole purpose, alpha and omega it’s not going to work. So, partnerships and being able to draw from DFIs and other financing institutions also remain critical.”

On the last day, a panel discussion and engagements on recommendations and clear commitments towards transforming the sector, took center stage.

Malusi Shezi – CETA CEO says, “There is commitment from government to make sure that the status quo changes, however there are still challenges because this country is still a developmental country. We are not yet a first world country and that to me means that the programmes that we may get is not going to be at the pace that we want, can we change the pace, yes if we work collaboratively bring the private sector and the public sector to make sure that everything that needs to be done at the right time.”

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) formed part of the discussions at the Indaba.

The agency is responsible for the building and maintenance of the country’s national roads. Last week, Sanral announced that the gantries used for electronic tolling in Gauteng would be officially disconnected on the 12th of this month.

Sanral regional manager Progress Hlahla, “The gazette that allows for the switching off of the E-tolls gantries has been signed by the Minister of Transport. So, the Minister of Transport is actually leading in this process, ensuring that the issues around E-tolls are resolved in a constructive manner and we can assure the citizens of Gauteng that all systems are at a go to ensure that the switch off happens.”

Several industry role players in the built environment have raised their hands to form part of a new task team that will meet quarterly to track progress. They want unity, service delivery, accountability and to uphold professionalism and ethics in the built environment industry.

The two-day inaugural built environment indaba drawing to a close with commitments to the championing of private public partnerships, addressing infrastructure projects backlogs, the building of infrastructure for the future and ensuring the strengthening of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment in the built environment sector.