Non-payment of contractors undermines country’s development objectives- Minister Nhleko
Public Works Minister, Nathi Nhleko has ordered officials in his department to urgently resolve all complaints of non-payment of contractors as they undermine the country’s development objectives. This follows Minister Nhleko’s engagement with officials and contractors in the KwaZulu-Natal region that kick-started the Minister’s regional visits aimed at mobilising stakeholders towards a shared goal and conscientiousness to develop South African society.
We will be perpetuating poverty and instability if we do not take deliberate steps to grow and develop contractors from historically marginalised groups. There is a relation between the pace of development and sustenance of society. The have-nots will rise against the haves if we are not deliberate about transformation, asserted Minister Nhleko at the engagement with contractors, National Department of Public Works (NDPW) as well as Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), Council for the Built Environment (CBE) and Independent Development Trust(IDT) officials held on Monday at the Royal Hotel Conference Hall in Durban.
Nhleko said that the country has to mobilise and coordinate resources towards meeting its overall objective to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment while also being conscious about the need to remove impediments for small medium and micro enterprises to grow.
Responding to numerous complaints about degrading of emerging contractors by the CIDB, the Minister expressed confidence that the transformation programme that will be rolled out by the board responds adequately to the concerns of emerging contractors.
A moratorium has been placed on downgrading. Further measures to deepen transformation within the construction industry will be communicated to stakeholders when the CIDB board embarks on its countrywide outreach programme, he added.
Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Contractors Forum, Sanisani Mkhize concurred with the Minister that Radical economic transformation requires a change of mindset and attitude from public servants Contractors can no longer afford to wait for payments for over two years. The set-asides for historically marginalized contractors give us hope that real empowerment which has evaded us and benefitted big business is about to happen, he said.
His view was echoed by women contractor Zandile Ncala and Thandi Mchunu who said that they are encouraged by the resolve to advance transformation within the construction and property sectors.
Ncala appealed to the CIDB to show teeth and deal harshly with collusion while Mchunu proposed a rotation system for awarding of tenders and ring-fenced projects for women contractors.
Source: Government of South Africa