Keynote Address at the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Provincial Stakeholders Forum | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Keynote Address at the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Provincial Stakeholders Forum

17 February 2010

Responding to the Requirements for Efficiencies and Empowerment Through Strategic Partnerships

I am delighted to be here today to speak about the partnership between Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and the Western Cape Department of Public Works. I hope by the end of this workshop we will have reached a concrete understanding of the Construction Industry Development's (CIDB) pivotal role in relation to the mandate of Public Works.

The CIDB is fulfilling its mandate as an enabler/developer, and also as a regulator/enforcer of compliance. The latter component represents a new focus. The CIDB has already exercised leadership in enforcing a regulatory framework for a construction delivery capability to bolster economic and social growth, and to promote empowerment to the historically disadvantaged.

The CIDB is being run in a businesslike fashion, with an operational plan and staffing structure. Key focus areas included contractor registration, the development of a revenue model, and, most importantly, as I have said, compliance enforcement. A concern for better safety in the construction environment is crucial, as is accredited management systems, and the establishment of an employment and skills development agency.

It is relevant to note at the outset that the CIDB rating system is the instrument by which construction contracts are awarded to historically disadvantaged groups or individuals. So in a certain sense, not only does the rating system set the bar, it is also a tool of aspiration. I look forward to the time when a historically disadvantaged group or individual is able to secure a level nine tender to compete with the Murray Robert's and the other market leaders of the industry.

One day we shall no longer speak of the historically disadvantaged because everyone will be playing on a level-playing field in an authentic opportunity society. In the Western Cape, as throughout the rest of the country, the CIDB is playing a key role in driving socio-economic development.

This holds true of my Department.

At the Department, all our infrastructure projects are registered on the CIDB register of projects. All our tenders are advertised on the CIDB tender system. All our awarded tenders are registered on the CIDB system. All our contract documents are based on CIDB Best Practice. The Department of Transport and Public Works, in short, advertises more tenders using the CIDB tender system than other department.

Despite the ever present constraint of funds and the recent recession, we allocated an approximately R 1.2 billion rand budget which had to be spent on social infrastructure in the 2009-10 financial year. This will be raised to approximately R 1.4 billion rand in the year 2010 -11. In the year ahead, this breaks down to R78 285 million for construction and R78 925 million for maintenance.

For Education in the year ahead, we have allocated R257 million for construction and R102 million for maintenance. For Health, we have allocated R800 million for construction and R134 million for maintenance. Just to give you an idea of how that money has been spent, in the last year we built 6 new schools with 72 brick and mortar classrooms for grade R student and 45 mobiles classrooms. This will yield a total classroom space for 10,770 learners by next month.

We have also commenced with the construction, planning, design and tender documentation for 15 new schools which will accommodate 18 000 learners in new classrooms, all of which will be completed by 2012. With regard to Health, infrastructure planning, design, maintenance, construction and upgrading of all infrastructures continues apace. The construction of 14 flagship health facilities in predominantly historically disadvantaged communities is underway, with several completed and others close to completion.

It is right that we focus on these two priority areas because education is the best investment any government can make and access to decent healthcare, free at the point of need, is, a basic human right enshrined in our Constitution. Education sets kids and adult learners free, and the touchstone civilised society is how we care for the sick and elderly.

We are also investing in dynamic urban regeneration projects in the province. In Cape Town, we plan to use public sector assets to unleash investment by the private sector. This state-led initiative will, by 2014, regenerate the Cape Town CBD as the catalyst to propel Cape Town forward as a great global city.

This is not a stand-alone project: it is designed to complement and dovetail with existing plans and projects such as, for example, the upgrading of the railway station and Grand Parade, the East City design initiative, the Integrated Rapid Transport System, the Green City Programme and to expand the CITCC which is facing stiff competition, not least from Durban.

Regeneration will also take cognisance of the areas close to downtown such as the East Precinct, Table Bay, District 6, Woodstock and Salt River and the N1 corridor to Bellville. In time, this project will be extended to the rest of the province and it will provide many opportunities for the construction industry. I hope you will seize them.

The construction industry will be kept active through constant advertisements and the awarding of tenders. In total, 425 tenders would have been awarded by the end of the financial year in April to, as I said earlier, the total value of R 1.2 billion.

Of this, 40% would have been awarded to BBEE enterprises and 20% to women owned enterprises. This initiative will continue in the next financial year and will be increased incrementally to deepen the open opportunity society we are seeking to build.

Job creation and job retention will be intensified as 12, 000 jobs will have been either created or retained by the end of the financial year through the infrastructure delivery programme or conventional contracts jobs. 3000 EPWP temporary work opportunities will have been created. While these jobs are temporary, they do provide for skills transference. This initiative will be further intensified in the coming financial years, and will be made an explicit condition of contract in order to compel our service providers to assist government to meet its socio-economic objectives.

Finally, my Department will ensure that all contractors who are awarded contracts will register with the Building Industry Bargaining Council. This will mean that all employees in the building industry which carry out work for my Department will be paid the industry prescribed rate. These employees will also receive all the benefits linked with the industry and being employed in the open labour market. This will also ensure that we increase the supply of decent jobs in the medium and long-term.

I want to reassure you that all my Department's dealings with the construction industry will be guided by all the principles of good governance and, most importantly, through openness and transparency.

Thank you.

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