Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Thursday called for collaboration between the public and private entities in the property and construction sectors in order to tackle the challenges facing these sectors and to pursue opportunities to boost growth in these sectors, as well as the broader economy.
De Lille was speaking at the Property Sector Charter Council (PSCC) seminar, held in Johannesburg.
De Lille called for collaborative participation to improve conditions within the the property and construction sectors in South Africa.
Emphasising the importance of getting the economy working above all else, De Lille said government would invest more in infrastructure and in creating conditions conducive for the sector to create more jobs.
However, she noted that the department could not do this alone and called for input and support from the private sector.
De Lille also noted the importance of ensuring that public assets were properly managed. She acknowledged that the department had serious challenges to contend with, such as supply chain management and procurement problems.
She assured stakeholders that, going forward, all tender processes to be issued by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) would be open for public scrutiny, from the evaluation of tender documents to the execution of those tenders.
She also called for ethical leadership from both the public and private sectors to “confront the scourge of corruption in South Africa".
Another issue highlighted by the Minister was a long turnaround time when companies wanted to renew leases on public-owned buildings, owing to bribes being sought. De Lille assured that this would come to an end.
De Lille also mentioned issues around the asset register, noting that the DPWI was aware of complaints and was working on fixing this and cleaning up the register.
She indicated that the department had already appointed a private company to help verify the register and provide data to enable the department to make informed decisions.
In terms of land invasions currently facing the construction sector, De Lille called for a collaborative approach from the private sector and the government in tackling the issue.
De Lille noted that despite the problems the department is facing, there were many opportunities for the construction and property sectors to capitalise on, through working in partnership with the department. For example, the department was exploring opportunities around the country’s harbours and how to lease land in these areas to stimulate economic activity.