The South African government should rather focus its attention on initiatives to support the private-sector construction industry, than planning to compete by establishing a State-owned construction company, Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) said on Thursday.
Cesa president Naren Bhojaram said that, on behalf of its 470 member firms, the industry body was “strongly” opposing Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale’s call to establish a State-owned construction company.
“The State should not set up structures in competition with the private sector. They should be creating a platform and a conducive environment for the private sector to excel,” Bhojaram said, adding that there was already too much political interference in public tenders.
Sexwale, during his Budget vote earlier this month, said that, together with the Department of Public Works, the Department of Human Settlements was considering establishing a State-owned construction company in efforts to eliminate reliance on “inexperienced shovel, wheelbarrow and bakkie brigades” when building houses in the government housing programme.
Bhojaram stressed that the State should focus its priorities on ensuring that experienced technical staff are brought back into government to manage infrastructure projects and inviting the private sector to develop innovative ideas for infrastructure development through the recognition and streamlining of the unsolicited bid and public−private partnership process.
The government should also mitigate corruption in the procurement process in the built environment sector.