Teams of top South African development and engineering professionals are working towards optimising cost, time, quality and socioeconomic outputs of infrastructure delivery programmes in South Africa.
Webster Mfebe, CEO: South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC), says a memorandum of understanding signed in March 2015 by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), SAFCEC and the Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE) is to be implemented on a project-by-project basis in upcoming months.
“A subcommittee to represent SAFCEC in interactions with the DBSA and the BBCBE has been appointed. We have also begun identifying expertise within current and past SAFCEC members who can contribute to the goals and outcome of the memorandum. The aim of implementing this agreement is effective delivery of infrastructure and to foster skills development, job creation and contractor development,” he says.
Mfebe says the memorandum envisages a collaborative approach to the planning, costing and resourcing of specific infrastructure programmes at predevelopmental stage, to provide greater certainty to project outcomes. It also addresses alternate building technologies, innovative procurement or contracting models, large-scale mentorship programmes to develop emerging contractors, local community involvement, youth employment and women-owned construction companies.
“Given the constraints on government finances, the lack of resources and project management skills, it is imperative that the public and private sectors collaborate to find better ways to deliver projects, given the modern demands on the current infrastructure delivery environment. We need to find new and different ways of providing infrastructure,” says Mfebe.
Sinazo Sibisi, group executive: infrastructure delivery at the DBSA, says the three groups will leverage off each other’s mandates to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of infrastructure projects and develop models to reduce contractor failures. She says the DBSA will provide project planning, management and implementation support to government departments and other state institutions in priority sectors, including health, education, water and housing.
“We want to be a centre of excellence which is not only solution-driven but also focuses on the delivery of infrastructure in South Africa and the rest of Africa by transforming the built-environment sector. We help drive infrastructure solutions within our sphere of operation with a view to addressing institutional failure, thereby accelerating socioeconomic infrastructure in the public sector.”
Why implementing the MOU is important
Through this memorandum of understanding, the DBSA, the SFCEC and the BBCBE aim to:
- achieve greater certainty in project outcomes
- incorporate alternate building technologies as well as innovative procurement or contracting models
- develop mentorship programmes for emerging contractors
- create employment opportunities for the youth
- develop women-owned construction companies
- address the need for new and different ways of providing infrastructure.
Words: Lisa Dewberry