Construction industry BEE transformation charter

Posted On Wednesday, 06 October 2004 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Interview between Lindsay Williams and Mike Wylie

Stella SigcauPublic Works Minister Stella Sigcau announces the Construction Transformation Charter (CTC) - aimed attracting more black people into the construction industry, transformation, and empowerment of the previously disadvantaged. Mike Wylie, chairman of WBHO and co-chairman of the Construction Transformation Charter Group (CTCG)

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: Can you tell us about the CTCG?

MIKE WYLIE: The CTCG is formed… I am co-chairman, with James Ngobeni, and obviously I am speaking on his behalf as well… the CTCG is a grouping of the business… we call it the business caucus… which is the construction industry, and it is represented by nine national bodies, as well as the consulting fraternity - which is made up of the built environment professionals

that is the business caucus. Running alongside that is labour, where we have the unions involved, and then government. So those are the three elements of the CTCG, which get together to form an IMC - an integrated management council - and that is the group that will be working on this charter. It is just the beginning of the charter the minister was not announcing a charter she was just announcing the beginning of the process of the formation of this charter.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: So, how far down the line is it? Is there a lot of work to be done?

MIKE WYLIE: There is a lot of work to be done. I think up to now it’s been… our construction industry is pretty fragmented, and it consists of all these organizations, in all the far corners of the country, so it’s taken quite a bit of time to get everyone together, to get labour with us, and to understand what we want to achieve. We are now together - I think we must have been working on it for about nine months now. Our technical teams, that need to discuss the various issues in the charter namely, the scorecard, are now busy working, so we are hoping to have the process complete by June next year. It is a big industry, and it’s going to be a tough job - but I think we are all on the same page, and we are all going for it...

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: It seems very ambitious

if we are looking at the numbers that have been put forward, the minister seems to want 30% of the industry to be in black hands by the year 2008, and that figure to increase to 45% to 2009 and beyond. Have I understood it correctly?

MIKE WYLIE: The Minister hasn’t discussed that directly with the IMC - just reading her press statement, her words are 30% empowerment over the first three years, and then 45%… I think when one talks empowerment, these days, in the press - everything is directed towards ownership, where ownership really is only one element of the scorecard. In fact, if we are only concentrating on ownership, I think transformation would fail. There are the other elements of this scorecard - which is particularly applicable to the construction industry. I think, overall, there is going to be a substantial amount of empowerment going on in the industry. Exact percentages, I really can’t comment on

it’s early days now, but those are the things that will get thrashed out. I think we are hopeful that there will be a substantial amount - without undermining the fabric of… especially, the listed construction companies.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: What sort of black participation is there at the moment in the industry?

MIKE WYLIE: It is really difficult to get figures to say. There is a lot of black participation, more at the lower-end, amongst the smaller contractors.

You know, the government, with their expanded public works programme, is giving out billions in work to the smaller contractors. But, I think, what the industry needs, is one consolidated charter, with one set of targets, where the whole industry can be on the same wavelength - everybody going for the same result, and that is from the small sub-contractors, through to the major listed companies. So, I think we are all very excited about this charter, and I think its going to give us all a lot of direction, which will improve the effectiveness of the transformation process which, I think, all of us as contractors are involved in, and want to succeed in.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: Do you think that… I have seen a comment here that some construction companies have claimed they are struggling to find black partners... Has the process already started? are people actively out there looking, and not finding suitable candidates?

MIKE WYLIE: I don’t think its all about finding… again, you’ve got to look at the elements of the scorecard, and if I can just quickly tell you those I think most people do know it, it was introduced by the DTI as a Code of

Practice: The one issue is ownership - and that has a weighting of 20%. For me, for transformation… more importantly, are the issues of employment equity, and skills development - that has a 30% weighting. Then you have got preferential procurement, and enterprise development that has a 30% weighting. Those are all the areas where it will take place. What we need… as an industry, we need young PDIs coming out of universities - trained in the built environment degrees - coming out into the industry, and participating. I think there is going to have to be a lot of support for maths and science, for bursaries, etc, to ensure that these guys do come through, so that they can take their rightful place in the senior management of the companies. I think the amount of people employed in the industry is about 500 000, of which 400 000 must be PDIs. The area where we are lacking is in senior management - we can’t afford… it’s a very tough industry the margins are low. It’s a very competitive industry - which is fantastic for South Africa… I think South Africa gets its infrastructure built at extremely competitive rates… So, with that, one really needs to have professionals that have come through, with degrees, that can take their place on boards in senior management positions. But I think that is happening I know we are all working at it, and I know this charter is really going to help us with these targets we’ll know exactly where to head for.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: The government is one of the construction industry’s largest clients

it hands out massive, massive contracts. I am just looking forward to something like 2010, the World Cup huge projects coming on board… Do you think they might use that - in their aims - to get the sort of charter they want?

MIKE WYLIE: I don’t think so. I think the World Cup is in 2010

It does go over quite a number of years but there are a number of other major projects like the Gautrain, etc, so yes, I think the government… we really see ourselves partnering with government. This is not going to be government whipping us into position I think there is a general… genuine need from government to partner with us. Sure, they are going to set us tough targets they want us to set targets that will really stretch us, because that is what we really need in the country. We need to do whatever we can to right the wrongs of the past… so it is going to be… I think it’s going to be a very positive partnership with government…

Last modified on Monday, 21 October 2013 19:14

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