29 May 2019 Industry body, Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) congratulates Cyril Ramaphosa on his inauguration as President of South Africa and looks forward to the announcement of his new lean Cabinet. In keeping with President Ramaphosa’s call for a ‘New Dawn’ CESA would like to see the re-instatement of Stakeholder Engagement processes aimed at creating a transparent environment setting the stage for economic growth that is underpinned by investment in infrastructure development resulting in improved service delivery.
Speaking from his office in Johannesburg, Chris Campbell, CEO of CESA states, “It is imperative that we develop trust between the public and private sectors in order for our country to gear up for the demands of future growth. In order to be prepared for this growth professional service providers need to be able to plan and ensure that they can adequately respond to the needs for improved service delivery. This will require Government to provide sight of the country’s infrastructure development pipeline through increased stakeholder engagement.” He went on to state that if Government’s infrastructure rollout plans are shared early enough this will allow professional service providers to adequately prepare and ensure that they have enough capacity to handle the demand. This will mitigate the impact of suddenly placing huge demands on the industry.
Campbell went on to state that most, if not all, previous infrastructure development plans would most likely need to be re-evaluated based on the country not reaching the predicted economic growth targets coupled with the negative impact of the global economic turndown as well as the impact of current US/China trade war.
“In order to be optimally effective such revised planning requires a strong partnership between Government, investors and professional service providers. Consistent with the ‘new dawn’ approach we need to work on implementing healthy processes in building relationships that make for good service delivery of infrastructure projects.” Unfortunately, public officials well-meaning in trying to do the right thing have been forced to become nervous of engaging for fear of being accused of over-disclosure and even corruption. Campbell feels that there needs to be a broad stakeholder engagement and not just engagement of a ‘select few’ based purely on personal relationships, “What we require is open and fair consultation with tenders being awarded based on competency”.
CESA and its member firms are eager to partner towards capacity building in the public sector. “In order to provide optimally designed infrastructure taking into account its full lifecycle costs we require knowledgeable and technically capable public sector clients”, concludes Campbell.