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News & Press: 2020 News Items


Thursday, 28 May 2020  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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News received from Deon van Zyl, Chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development Forum: 

There is much relief around President Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest announcement that Level 3 will see the return of the construction industry back to business. While it will be some time before we will see “business as usual” and while there is much now to be put in place as additional measures in terms of health and safety, the announcement is the lifeline a number of industry bodies have been lobbying hard to achieve.

The largest of these industry bodies has been the Construction Covid-19 Rapid Response Task Team (CC19RRTT), initiated by the Master Builders Association KwaZulu Natal, chaired by John Matthews (President of Master Builders South Africa), and of which the WCPDF was one of the handful of founding members.
At the last count, the CC19RRTT now proudly represents 34 organisations from across the broadest spectrum of the property development and construction sector in South Africa. It was under this representation and others, that we collectively – and, quite obviously, successfully – lobbied government in the short term to reopen all our construction sites across the board, public and private.
As the CC19RRTT, we also presented the office of Minister Patricia de Lille (National Public Works and Infrastructure) with a Medium-Term Plan for the Activation of the Industry Post the Covid-19 Lockdown. This document was largely a collaboration between the WCPDF and members of the CC19RRTT. A specific mention needs to be made of Luyanda Mphalwa (of DesignSpace Africa) in his role as president representing the South African Institute of Architects on the task team, and my personal thanks go to him for assisting with this extensive and comprehensive body of work. Please note the plan references, as Annexure 1, the Property Development Process Model done in collaboration between the Urban Real Estate Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and the WCPDF. It also references, as Annexure 2, work undertaken by Claire Deacon & Associates Health and Safety Specialists in terms of Health and Safety Certification.
One of the key features of this plan is something which the WCPDF has called for across a number of years: self-certification. In other words, the need for municipalities to establish planning and directorate approval which co-opts registered and accredited private professionals to assist with approvals and unlock the blockages municipalities face. One of the WCPDF’s own management committee members, Simmy Peerutin of Peerutin Architects and who represents the Cape Institute for Architecture on the WCPDF, has penned an excellent opinion editorial on the subject which can be read here.
Covid-19 is here to stay with us for a while yet, and the result is a long road along which we now have to travel. But at least progress is being made to return people to work and, in particular, put food back on the table of many of the most vulnerable members of our Western Cape communities: our construction teams.
However, the work does not end here. There were many issues and challenges to our industry even before the pandemic raised its head and, as the WCPDF, we will continue to focus on these while we strengthen our efforts through these times and beyond. And we thank each and every one of you who travels this road with us.


Having postponed the original dates of the conference from May to August, it is with regret that we must cancel this year’s annual WCPDF conference – at least, in its physical form for now. This became a necessity when the Western Cape Government announced the Cape Town International Convention Centre would be temporarily converted into an 800-bed Covid-19 hospital. In addition, we have the ongoing prohibition of all public gatherings for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on our industry has been and continues to be severe and, ironically, the need for the conference is now greater than ever. There will have to be serious deliberation on the actions required to resurrect the property development and construction sector. Since this cannot take the form of a physical conference, we are currently investigating alternative online conference and/or webinar platforms that will allow for effective and engaging information sharing and networking opportunities.
We are also very sensitive to the financial implications of the lockdown and, to this end, we have made contact with all delegates who have already paid for their registration in order to refund them. Likewise, we have offered our sponsors the same. However, as we will be investigating online options, we are heartened by the number of sponsors who have voted to stay on board for now in terms of whatever new options are put on the table, and we thank them enormously for their supportTo date, they are Africa Collaboration Hub, AL&A, BPAS Architects, Power Development Projects and Talani Quantity Surveyors.
Information on the way forward online will be shared in the coming weeks, and there will – as always – be significant discounts for members and early bird bookings


The City of Cape Town has produced a list of guidelines for businesses to implement, as a minimum, in order to get back to work safely. A press release issued this week by Alderman James Vos, MayCo Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, outlines these, together with details to access the following:

The City’s Economic Task Team has also formulated the City’s Economic Action Plan identifying three stages of intervention in response to the crisis: respond, adapt and recover, and stabilise. This plan can be found on the Invest Cape Town website.
Businesses are also welcome to make contact with the City of Cape Town’s Business Hub at to answer any questions they may have on workplace safety during Covid-19.