Building South Africa: Bridging the gap. This was the theme of the 108th annual Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) Congress, aimed at addressing both local and global issues that continue to impact the construction industry.
 
“For contractors it has not been plain sailing as the recovery from the slowdown following the world financial crisis has been characterised by a very moderate rise in building activity and profitability,” stated the MBSA’s immediate past president, Danie Hattingh.
 
The collusion scandal that has contaminated the industry was addressed by the Minister of Public Works, Thembelani Thulas Nxesi, as he expressed dissatisfaction with the industry. “The findings of the Competition Commission marked a major milestone – and hopefully a turning point – in the evolution of the construction sector in this country. Wrong-doers need to be held accountable – no matter how big they are.”
 
On the topic of transformation, Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC) chairperson, Felix Fuzile Fongoqa, stated that there are gaps in the transformation of the industry that easily hinder its goals.
 
“We want to make a strong appeal to all MBSA member organisations to implement meaningful transformation as this is one of South Africa’s key pillars for sustainable growth.”
 
In a similar vein, Dr Bridgette Gasa of the National Planning Commission stated in her talk on “The National Development Plan 2030: Implications for the building and construction industry”, that sectors like those represented at the congress are important players in dealing decisively with poverty and inequality.
 
“The infrastructure plan has its roots in the National Development Plan (NDP) and members of the construction industry are the key enablers for achieving it. We need the engagement and active participation of this sector. The National Planning Commission believes that it is feasible to create 11-million jobs by 2030, with the majority coming from the agriculture, mining and construction sectors. The government has stated that if we are going to be pumping the kind of investment that we are into the construction industry, the sector needs to give something back in relation to skills development and job creation,” she added.
 
Eskom will be allocating over R500 billion to infrastructure over the next five years, while Transnet will be devoting over R300 billion over seven years. Through this infrastructure investment, the state expects state-owned enterprises to position themselves to respond to the developmental agenda.
 
As it is MBSA tradition, the congress was officially closed with an annual general meeting during which the new president, Colin Cozens, and the vice-president, Neil Cloete, were installed as office bearers for the ensuing year.
 
Master Builders South Africa
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Website: www.mbsa.org.za