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Labour intensive construction sector touted as key to Economic recovery

Construction sector touted as a key to the South African Economic recovery.

As the country moves to level one of the lock down most economic sectors are looking forward to implementing a recovery plan after the coronavirus pandemic the construction sector was one of the hardest hit president has just approved a recovery plan proposed by ned lag which makes infrastructure development key to the recovery of the economy uh priscilla is ceo of the council for the built environment and joins us now to speak to us about some of the steps that are needed in order for a quick recovery in the sector priscilla thanks very much for your time and welcome to the am report let me start by just getting a sense of where we are in so far as construction is concerned in south africa especially because this particular sector has been battling a variety of challenges for about a decade now i imagine covert 19 certainly hasn’t made things any better good morning ayanda and good morning to your viewers and thank you very much for having us in your show this morning perhaps before i can even talk about what is happening in our industry let me just say highlight who we are we are the council of the built environment and our role is to uh over oversee the councils that are registering the professionals that are critical in the construction industry for us to have the roads that you see we need to have we need to plan we need to design and we need to implement so some of our professionals are critical in ensuring that this construction industry is is working healthy so some of these professionals they we were talking about the architectures engineering and landscape architectures project and construction management property vehicles and quantity surveyors so we are on standby and we are excited that we are moving to level one uh we have been ready uh for for a long time and as we have indicated that our industry has been hit hard uh i remember that when we look at the stats south africa uh between january and and and march 2020 we’re contributing about 4.7 towards the our gdp and during the lockdown period we have even moved further our contribution had decreased to about 76 comma 76.6 uh in terms of a contribution to the gdp so we have been hit hard very hard but we are ready we are excited and we we have ensured that we during the lockdown we we made sure that we we consult with the industry so that we prepare ourselves one of our critical areas is health and safety in the construction we know that one one death in in construction site is too many so one of the critical areas that we are focusing on is to ensure that our sites are are protected our sites are good and and and and our employers our employees will be will be well catered for so these are some of the critical things that you have put in place to ensure that as we go back we our our workers are well protected so we are ready and we also as we have indicated that the the president has announced you know the construction they’re all out of infrastructure projects and again we have positioned ourselves especially because we know that women have been have not been a they’re benefiting much so we’re positioning ourselves so that our women in construction are benefiting in these projects yeah priscilla i know one of the long-standing issues is that the construction industry hasn’t been able to capture as many government infrastructure projects as hoped are you optimistic this will change as we see the reopening of the economy we are optimistic we cannot afford not to because i think we are committed to making to to grow this economy together with uh with the government so we are optimistic and we are sure that uh it might take longer you know then then expected but we want to see things changing in our in industry of course the other real prospect that many people are looking to is a very different status quo this new normal is the term that’s been used quite often how is that going to affect construction do you think in south africa i’m thinking specifically uh considering the prospects that most people are going to be working from home and things like you know real estate for um businesses might be affected i mean is that something within your purview yes the new normal is challenging us but it is also giving us giving us opportunities you know to embrace technology some of us years who have learned to work from home and to rest but it is working but i know that some of our construction a workers unfortunately they cannot work from home they have to go on on site you know but we we will try as much as possible to embrace the technology and and ensure that we will continue to protect our workers but we are talking about their property values they have to go on site and evaluate the site so unfortunately it’s not all of us will continue to work from home we have to go out on site and do the work but i think as i’ve mentioned that health and safety for us is critical right the other concern of course is that allegations of things like corruption maladministration will continue to cast quite a bit of a shadow over the industry itself and that doesn’t bid the industry well if it’s trying to contribute in the ways through which you’ve outlined now what steps have been put in place to try and up the ante against mel administration within your industry yeah that is a that is a our reality you know the issue of corruption especially in the in the construction industry we have seen the issue of fronting you know so but what we have done especially as the the council for the built environment together with the the six councils we we have written to the a special unit investigation unit so so that we can assist them in terms of tracking uh those uh corruption cases because we understand that they might have the the knowledge of investigating but they might need our skills the skills of the built environment professionals so that they are able to to to handle those cases so we we are not sitting on the side but we want to participate and assist the government in ensuring that we will deal with the issues of corruption i mean corruption is also about our our businesses not being paid on time because there are officials who want to to be to get the bride so that they are able to process your invoices so we want to make sure that we deal with those issues so as i said that we don’t want to to say to sit on the side but we want to engage the government we want to to be in those spaces where we ensure that we are dealing with the issues of corruption once and for all priscilla is the ceo of the council for the built environment priscilla thanks very much for your time

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