SAFCEC President, Thembinkosi
Nzimande addresses the key challenges and making a positive
impact in 2015
I would like to thank Mr Norman Milne and Council members for their
leadership and support culminating in my appointment as SAFCEC
President at AGM.
No industry has a higher direct impact on the fortunes of the country
like the construction industry. The thread across the NDP is
infrastructure investment enabling economic growth and competitiveness.
The other thread is the social paradox that runs across our nation of
1st world and 3rd world all in one; here too our industry is the foot
soldier for unraveling the paradox. We have to show leadership and
avail ourselves to co-create the solutions for the delivery of the
National Development Plan’s infrastructure programme.
In our engagements with key stakeholders and clients there are a number
of positive perspectives around the different models for packaging and
contracting projects, however the onus is still on us to nurture the
relationships that enable the industry’s bottom up knowledge and
capability to be a trusted positive contributor in the highest seats of
infrastructure development and planning. This is a challenge I take up
with our ManCo, and a challenge I put to all the regional management
Sites are a contractual boxing match, when I step on site my boxing
gloves are more relevant that my hardhat as the ability to go toe to
toe on contractual management will determine the company’s success or
failure on that site and thus the project itself. Generally where there
are high quality documents, even handed contracts and collaborative
planning those projects have a higher probability of success in terms
of on budget and on time.
The contractual eco-system has to work for clients and contractors
towards the common goal of project success. Contractual harmony on
construction sites is probably an impossible goal but one that
incremental improvements towards it, is of immense value to contractors
and clients. There are a number of stakeholders that are our core
partners in the unending journey towards contractual harmony,
stakeholders such as CiDB, Consulting Engineers, Treasury, Clients etc.
Financial viability of construction companies has become a concern
especially in the regions and our smaller to medium companies. There
are positive developments and pronouncements on the issue of payment to
contractors, however we need to continuously engage with this matter
until our members experience an improvement on the ground.
I also intend to open more dialogue on the issue of funding and finance
instruments with clients, formal banks industry body and the DFI’s –
(development finance institutions) on solutions for construction
industry in context of the nature of construction and its challenges.
While the issue of margins and rates etc. is a company specific
competitive issue there is a broader discourse to be hand around the
factors that lead to unprofitable construction contracts, which have
put a number of companies in distress.
As the New Year starts I am humbled and energised by the challenges and
responsibility that members have entrusted to me at AGM. I look forward
to working my ManCo and the regions to make a positive contribution to
the industry. I wish all our members and the construction community a
productive new year and will see you soon in the regions.