Aug 02, 2012
Shoddy low-cost housing construction costs State R50bnBack
Construction|Africa|Housing|Projects|Systems|Africa|South Africa|Possible Solutions|Systems|Infrastructure|Tokyo Sexwale|The FIFA World Cup
© Reuse this
As a result of this, he again posed the question of whether it was time to establish a State-owned construction company to undertake the many housing projects in the country.
However, he stressed that the concept was not set in stone and he wanted to engage the construction industry in debates for possible solutions to the subpar-construction challenge.
Sexwale also noted that a State-owned construction entity need not be 100% controlled, or even run by the State.
The department would continue analysing other countries that have successfully established State construction companies and examine its relevancy to South Africa.
“If it [the concept] works, we will move ahead; if it doesn’t we will scrap it,” he commented.
Speaking at a construction sector breakfast, Sexwale said he was hesitant to spend any of the R25-billion set aside in his budget for housing projects until the issue of substandard work was resolved and he received certain assurances from the sector.
The Minister said that, based on the fact that an upsurge in infrastructure spend in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup in 2010 lessened the impact on South Africa of global economic instability, the government’s R850-billion plan to develop infrastructure would play an important role in further cushioning South Africa from international economic instability. He added that low-cost housing developments were a significant part of this.
“We have to give the country a fighting chance not to fall like the other countries.”
Inexperienced, less-than-credible “shovel, wheelbarrow and bakkie brigade” construction groups involved in the tenders for government's housing programmes were delivering “shoddy” workmanship and many of their constructions were falling apart.
Black economic-empowerment was not a licence to deliver substandard or poor-quality work, he said.
Sexwale reported that there were about 2 000 people at national level which were believed to be involved in corruption and the awarding of tenders before many had a chance to bid. But it did take two to tango, he noted, adding that this was something the department was looking into.
He believed that involving a few of the large, more credible established and competent players in South Africa, and even internationally, in the low-cost housing projects, and their partnerships with the smaller, genuine and committed, albeit inexperienced, or capacity-strained, companies, would go a long way in ensuring quality work, while transferring skills.
Sexwale also pointed out that many options were available to shape up the low-cost housing-construction sector but engagement with the industry would produce many more.
Delegates at the industry breakfast suggested the need for an investigation into the root cause of these challenges and deal with them instead of treating the symptoms – as one delegate suggested the concept of the State-owned construction company would do.
Monitoring systems and the blacklisting of fly-by-night contractors were some of the suggestions that emerged from the meeting.
Others commented on a number of issues in the industry, including unclear building specifications, the lack of sufficient and competent inspectors for large contracts, lack of partnerships, the need for training centres and skills transfer, poor-quality material, and continued lack of implementation of ever-mounting policies and regulations.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Construction News
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel has announced its fourth consecutive year of profits. The group's results for the financial year 2013/2014 were recently announced at its head office in Centurion, south of Pretoria. Revenues grew by 17%, net...
There is little opportunity for JSE-listed infrastructure company Group Five to grow shareholder value in the domestic market, says CEO Mike Upton. He says value can still be found in the private sector, in the renewable and industrial power sector, as well as in...
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has announced the event dates of the 2015 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS). The event will take place from October 14 to October 25, 2015, at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec.
UK engineering support services provider Babcock is set to deliver the largest order of global truck manufacturer DAF’s truck tractors in Southern Africa to bulk carrier road-based logistics company Ngululu Bulk Carriers (NBC), with 133 trucks to be delivered in...
Digital radio communications in the African local government space can open up the world, but have many challenges to overcome, notes integration and migration of legacy radio communications infrastructure with digital mobile radio company Emcom Wireless head of...