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Your Organisation Needs You!

Monday, 11 May 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: SAFCEC Communications
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SAFCEC Continuity Advisor, Norman Milne, on the importance of participation

The South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) is an employers’ organization which exists for one reason, and one reason only – to serve our members. The Forum is active on a variety of fronts and is often stretched to deal with the multitude of issues and meetings that come our way on a daily basis. 

As we all know, dealing with government, whether local, provincial or national, is unpredictable. Meetings are postponed and re-scheduled at the last minute; meetings are called unexpectedly at very short notice. What will be discussed at a meeting is not always apparent beforehand and even if it is this is often changed and some other topic dealt with instead. Even a meeting that was thought to be insignificant can end up deciding on industry important matters.

SAFCEC is a respected stakeholder in the construction industry, our opinions or comments are valued. We are represented on various industry bodies; we speak on behalf of employers in the Bargaining Council. SAFCEC is a bottom up organization. The work is done and guidance given to staff through the various sub-committees – HR, Contractual Affairs, Training, Transformation, to name but a few.  These committees are manned and chaired by SAFCEC members.  It is a structure that has been in existence for 75 years and has served our members well. 

However we now live in the VUCA world - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The digital age of e-mail, texting, facebook, twitter and the like makes communication instantaneous. Decisions are needed in a short period of time. We are required to do more and more in less and less time. Unfortunately this impacts on SAFCEC’s ability to deliver to our members. It is always the same few volunteers who serve on the committees, normally on more than one. Once decisions are made these people who give freely of their time are unfairly criticised for not consulting widely or not understanding the issues faced at a regional or local level. 

How can we rectify this? In a few ways. 
If you want SAFCEC to be your voice then you the members have to give us that voice so that when we are asked for our opinion we can speak with authority on your behalf. This means actively participating in SAFCEC structures. The Bedfordview office has a dial in facility linked to the three regional offices, so the days of having to travel to participate are gone. When we send out a survey or ask for your comments on some pending legislation or regulation take the time to read the document and respond. Legislation which impacts on our industry is constantly changing – the new Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the new BBBEE Codes, pretty soon we will be asked to comment on the Prompt Payment Act. BUSA pays lawyers to do this. We cannot afford lawyers, besides they don’t know too much about our industry, we need your input.

If you are requested to attend a meeting on behalf of SAFCEC, understand what it is about, what your mandate is, and, above all, report back to the National Office or your Regional Manager so the outcome can be recorded and reported. Get to know the SAFCEC executives. Next time there is a Council Meeting in your region come along and meet them, understand the value they bring to our organization.

Above all: get involved, participate, be inside the tent and part of the decision making.


To quote Martin Niemoller: -

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Norman Milne


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