JOHANNESBURG– Employers in the South African construction sector have threatened to go to court to force the government to implement the construction sector charter codes aimed at implementing transformation.
Speaking at the annual conference of the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) here Monday, employers in the civil engineering industry said the delay had led to massive job losses in the construction sector.
The construction sector charter codes, aimed at determining score cards and grading in the sector, were finalised in May 2016 and the sector is blaming the government for dragging its feet to promulgate the codes and sign them into law.
The employers say most companies in the sector are in limbo as they cannot compete and secure new contracts. As a result, many of them have been forced to close shop and lay off employees as they are unable to secure new contracts.
SAFCEC chief executive Webster Mfebe said: “We think that we are treated with disdain because our members are suffering in terms of competing for jobs. Those who were highly graded are downgraded. So, they can’t get contract workers. Many companies are on the brink of closing down.”
In the past five years, the government had spent more than 1.0 trillion Rand (about 75 billion US dollars) on infrastructure development but private sector investments have dropped from 23 per cent to 19 per cent. Policy uncertainty has been highlighted as one of the issues which will affect the implementation of national development targets which must be achieved by 2030.
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said: “All those issues of uncertainty, the government is implementing them to make sure that all the obstacles that stands in the way to give more confidence in the private sector and that we are committed to implement all those confidence-boosting measures to enforce the NDP (National Development Plan).”
Delegates attending the SAFCEC conference agreed that the construction sector has an important role to play in achieving the goals of the NDP — a development blueprint drafted by the government to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 — and that a further delay in implementing transformation codes will cause more harm than good in the sector.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK