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Priscilla Md­lalose was re­cently ap­pointed as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at the Coun­cil for the Built En­vi­ron­ment (CBE). She holds a Mas­ter’s De­gree in Town and Re­gional Plan­ning, a

B.Ed de­gree, a cer­tifi­cate in Project Man­age­ment and a cer­tifi­cate in Hous­ing Pol­icy De­vel­op­ment. Her ex­pe­ri­ence is rooted in ed­u­ca­tion, the Non-Gov­ern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tion (NGO) sec­tor, and lo­cal govern­ment. Md­lalose joined the CBE as chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer, and took over the reins as act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer in Novem­ber 2015. Her task is to en­sure that the CBE im­ple­ments the CBE Act 43 of 2000, as well as ad­dress chal­lenges and trans­for­ma­tion in the built en­vi­ron­ment sec­tor. She shares her thoughts on her new role.

“Thank you for giv­ing me this op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on my thoughts, per­cep­tions (and per­haps mis­con­cep­tions), and learn­ings as I take up the seat at the helm of the Coun­cil for the Built En­vi­ron­ment (CBE) as its chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

“In or­der to add mean­ing and value to the CBE’s ser­vice de­liv­ery, it was im­per­a­tive that I un­der­stood the rea­son for its ex­is­tence. The CBE as an en­tity was cre­ated in 2000 with the passing of the CBE Act 43. Ba­si­cally, this Act con­fers the role of cus­to­dian of the built en­vi­ron­ment upon CBE – to en­sure that the con­struc­tion sec­tor con­trib­utes to the post-apartheid po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, and so­cial land­scape of South Africa.

“For me this role in rooted in two ‘Si­amese twin’ dy­nam­ics that per­vade all the work of the CBE – stake­holder co­or­di­na­tion and trans­for­ma­tion, for which CBE must cre­ate fer­tile con­di­tions so that:

• His­tor­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged in­di­vid­u­als claim a greater share of the en­tre­pre­neur­ial space in the con­struc­tion sec­tor.

• Built en­vi­ron­ment dis­ci­plines are an at­trac­tive ca­reer choice for school learn­ers.

• Race and gen­der im­bal­ance is re­dressed in the sec­tor by in­creas­ing num­bers of non-white and women prac­ti­tion­ers achiev­ing pro­fes­sion­ally reg­is­tered sta­tus.

• Life-long learn­ing and the recog­ni­tion thereof is the norm. • Pro­tect­ing the pub­lic from col­lu­sive car­tels and un­ac­cept­able stan­dards of work de­liv­ered. • Re­search, pol­icy, ed­u­ca­tion, in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion to keep dated with best prac­tice and a built en­vi­ron­ment rel­e­vant to South Africa’s geo-po­lit­i­cal land­scape.

“The CBE is com­mit­ted to host­ing an an­nual Trans­for­ma­tion Ind­aba to give sec­tor role play­ers a plat­form to in­ter­ro­gate is­sues with a view to en­hance the in­tegrity of the sec­tor and un­der­take trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives jointly. This demon­strates the maxim that we can­not go at it alone; all sec­tor role play­ers have re­source in­gre­di­ents to con­trib­ute to bak­ing the trans­for­ma­tion cake.

“My other fo­cus is on the youth in im­ple­ment­ing trans­for­ma­tion – if they are the fu­ture of the coun­try, it’s im­por­tant we un­der­stand the mil­len­nial per­spec­tive in de­vel­op­ing them for this im­por­tant role. There­fore ca­reer aware­ness, skills de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes, and ac­cred­i­ta­tion of ter­tiary built en­vi­ron­ment cour­ses fea­ture high on the CBE’s pri­or­i­ties.

“This is the sense and mean­ing I in­tend to give to the South African built en­vi­ron­ment in steer­ing the CBE to ful­fil the man­dates of the CBE Act. In clos­ing I want to wish you peace and safety over the hol­i­day sea­son, and a pro­duc­tive and ful­fill­ing 2018; as a val­ued reader of this pub­li­ca­tion and stake­holder, I look for­ward to en­gag­ing with you.”

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