THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC WORKS SHARES ITS VISION FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE POLITICAL TERM, 2014–2019
In an interview with Public Sector Manager, Department of
Public Works Minister, Honourable Nkosinathi Nhleko, shared departmental key strategic and policy thrusts for the remainder of his political term.
He mentioned that there are no critical policy shifts as all strategic and policy initiatives are influenced by the National Development Plan (NDP), the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and other national priorities of government. He emphasised the need to finalise the implementation of key programmes which should be prioritised in the planning for the upcoming year.
The minister’s policy statement focuses on five pillars that are priorities for the period under discussion. These are:
• Development of policy and legislation
• Transformation of the property and construction sector • Job creation
• Improving the governance of entities
• Building capacity within the department through internal
In sharing the policy priorities of the department, Minister Nhleko emphasised that the priorities which are outlined in the Policy Statement do not deviate from the current trajectory that has been set for the 5-year cycle. However, he indicated that the department and its entities needed to refocus in particular areas to give greater emphasis to addressing the needs of the South African public. He reiterated that as “we draw closer to the end of the electoral cycle, there is a need to reflect upon the priorities and objectives of government as are largely contained in the NDP and MTSF. Thus, we will be in a position to establish if we have indeed made a meaningful contribution in this regard.
Minister Nhleko emphasised that there is a need to align strategic programmes and objectives with the MTSF priorities as a way of ensuring that there is continuous evaluation of impact on them.
POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND LEGISLATION
The minister noted the fact that “our pieces of legislation do not recognise the current socio-economic challenges and the country’s future trajectory based on the policies of the ruling party. The department must move towards ensuring finalisation of White Paper review processes that should lead towards development of the Public Works Bill and Act”.
He said that the finalisation of the White Paper should simultaneously inform the amendments to the legislation governing the different entities reporting to the department, with specific reference to the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) and Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in particular. The review of these Acts must not only clarify the challenges in the regulatory environment, but most importantly address the low levels of transformation in the industry.
The minister acknowledged progress made on the finalisation of the amendments to the Expropriation Bill in the past financial year and raised the importance of prioritising the public participation process to its successful conclusion so that the Bill may be submitted to the President for assent. He further explained that the Bill was a critical component of the radical economic transformation programme.
TRANSFORMATION OF THE PROPERTY AND CONSTRUCTION SECTOR
Minister Nhleko highlighted the fact that the department and its entities are still facing challenges in building a sustainable, competitive and transformed construction industry. His point of argument is with regard to monopolisation on the supply side of the industry, which has negative effects on the prices of materials. The implementation of socio-economic transformation will require a dedicated commitment to programmes that are intended to ensure that previously oppressed and disadvantaged individuals are also included in the development of the country.
Minister Nhleko acknowledged the progress achieved in finalising and launching of the Property Sector Codes and Charter, but also expressed his desire to see a speedy finalisation of the same in relation to the construction industry. He said that the two should create a baseline for measuring the extent of transformation and the department should consider reporting on progress made on an annual basis.
“We need to align our internal policies to the targets as set out in the charters to ensure a seamless implementation of transformation programmes,” he said.
He identified areas of concern that should be vigorously pursued to drive the transformation agenda. These are:
The development of enabling legislation for the entities to promote transformation.
Obtaining approval on the Construction Sector Codes and the launching of the Codes and Charter.
Ensuring that all national standards for the planning design, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure are in line with the Charter.
Minister of Public Works Nkosinathi Nhleko