John Matthews, who is chairperson of the newly established Covid-19 Construction Rapid Response Task Team, says the global economy has been thrown into turmoil as the world struggles to combat the spread of Covid-19.
He adds that South Africa’s economy has been particularly hard hit by the double blow of the lockdown and further downgrades by ratings agencies.
The task team has been established with participation from key industry bodies to look at the recovery of the industry after South Africa's lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 ends.
“This is unprecedented and has placed the country in a very challenging position, requiring sacrifice by the population and businesses to comply with the lockdown, but at the same time requiring definitive action by government to implement structural economic reforms and address poor economic growth while dealing with the pandemic.
New partnerships will be required to navigate through these turbulent times,” says Matthews.
The task team aims to collectively unlock relief measures for the industry to remain sustainable and to help the industry navigate its way through these unchartered territories.
Some of the key issues that the task team is dealing with immediately are identifying opportunities where the construction and built environment can assist in the national disaster and relief efforts both on a volunteer and professional basis; interpreting regulations for peers; exploring relief measures specific to the construction sector; supporting emergency procurement for the next 12 months; and discussing interventions for the recovery of the industry.
Further, the task team is engaging with government around paying service providers within the required 30-day time period, and making sure that infrastructure projects do not get cancelled.
The task team is made up of experts from Master Builders South Africa, the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors, the Western Cape Property Development Forum, the Black Business Council in the Built Environment, the South African Institute of Architects, Cox Yeats Attorneys and Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal.