Although the construction industry is experiencing serious headwinds as a result of stagnant growth, low business confidence, a lack of investment and, most recently, the impact of Covid-19-related restrictions, construction multinational Grinaker-LTA says there will always be a need for the development and maintenance of infrastructure.
It adds that technological advances and emerging sectors, such as the renewables sector, provide the construction industry with a steady pipeline of work.
"Group 5 and Esor have delisted from the JSE and some of South Africa's top construction companies have sold their buildings and infrastructure units. While many of the country’s top construction companies have lost up to 80% of their value or been significantly downsized, they still have the knowledge available to be able to scale up quickly to implement massive infrastructure projects," says Grinaker-LTA Group MD Bheki Mdlalose.
Grinaker-LTA has been rightsized and is focused on ensuring a sustainable future for the business, he adds.
"South Africa’s construction industry is nowhere near being wiped out. Like all other South African sectors and like South Africans themselves, we are having to be very inventive and adjust to a new reality with low- to no growth, but there are always opportunities for the intrepid.
"As the macroeconomic environment improves and the South African economy starts growing again, we will still have the intellectual property, technical expertise and experience to be able to undertake the most complex projects. We have no doubt that our competitors will also be able to do so," he states.
Grinaker-LTA also believes the substantial infrastructure build programme announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April will help the sector tread water while business confidence and investment is restored.
The group is excited about the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa, which will be hosted by the President on June 23, as it is expected to point the way to much-needed infrastructure investment in South Africa.
The symposium is expected to provide a credible infrastructure pipeline across six priority areas – water, transport, energy, digital infrastructure, human settlements, agriculture and agroprocessing.
"Given the new realities, the construction industry is having to box clever, but I have no doubt that it will survive, albeit not unchanged. Grinaker-LTA has experienced many a recession and crisis in its over 125-year history, but we are still around to tell the tale and we have no doubt that we and our competitors can still deliver," he concludes.