THE MIN­ISTRY OF PUB­LIC WORKS SHARES ITS VI­SION FOR THE RE­MAIN­DER OF THE PO­LIT­I­CAL TERM, 2014–2019

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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

strate­gic en­ablers

POL­ICY PRI­OR­I­TIES

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

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