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News & Press: 2020 News Items

WCPDF News

Saturday, 08 August 2020  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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There has been much in the media recently about government heeding the call to release public infrastructure projects in order to kickstart both the economy on the whole, and in particular to assist the property development and construction community which was in a severe state of decline even before the pandemic struck.
 
For example, another press release issued this week yet again by a local authority announced that “building plans to the value of R5.2 billion” had been approved since the start of the lockdown.
 
There is of course a fair amount of understandable cynicism among industry bodies as to how many of these types of announcements are indeed about “new” projects … or how many of them have just been projects held up for months if not years in the red tape that has strangled the industry for a long, long time now.
 
It would be interesting to interrogate the numbers and we may well find this is something that the financial press eventually steps in to investigate.
 
Nevertheless, on 23 June, President Ramaphosa hosted the inaugural Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDS-SA) online and we believe in good faith, to discuss the prioritisation of infrastructure development to support structural transformation, growth and job creation.  A detailed outline of the SIDS-SA programme has been released, and recordings of all presentations on the day can be accessed here.
 
The programme is supported by Minister Patricia de Lille, National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, who on 27 July issued the first of what we have been told will ultimately be a total of more than 270 strategic integrated projects, with a number of these in the Western Cape. To read more about this, click here. And a disclaimer here: to her credit, Minister de Lille stated that not all of these projects are new; rather, they are projects that have stalled and that her department is now determined to reignite across all tiers of government.
 
While we are still in the grips of the lockdown countrywide, Minister de Lille has indeed over the past few months been prepared to engage with our sector, in particular with the Construction Covid-19 Rapid Response Task Team and we believe she has heard our pleas not only to restart the property development and construction sector (which has begun, albeit slowly), but to look towards national solutions to resolve the plethora of red tape at both provincial and local level that was leading to our death by strangulation even before Covid-19 struck.
 
This has led us to believe government – certainly at both a national and Western Cape provincial level – are now in agreement that our sector has a crucial role to play in the critical recovery of our country post pandemic, and to this end we are very pleased to announce the start of our upcoming “In Conversation” series of interactive webinars, with our initial conversations and questioning debates to be held in turn with Premier Alan Winde (Wednesday 19 August) and Minister de Lille (Thursday 17 September).
 
For more about the entire “In Conversation” series, please see our first article on it below. As a registered non-profit, the WCPDF relies heavily on your support to allow it to keep doing what it does for the industry, so we hope to see as many of you as possible registering for the virtual in conversation series. In the meanwhile, we’d also very much like to thank the sponsors that have come forward to date for this series, namely our Gold Sponsors, EFG Engineers, Power Developments and BPAS Architects and our Silver Sponsors, Talani Quantity Surveyors, Africa Collaboration Hub and AL&A.
 
In fact, the WCPDF would like to congratulate EFG Engineers who are celebrating 20 years in the industry this year. The company was one of the founding members of the WCPDF, and directors David Faure and Eric Foster remain highly active on behalf of the industry – the former being a member of our Management Committee leading the Transportation workgroup, and the latter a member of our Conferencing sub committee - the team that have made our “In Conversations” series a reality. In an article which you can see here, they share their experience, together with their colleagues, of how the landscape has changed over the past two decades, as well as their take on the way forward past the pandemic.
 
We would also like to congratulate our Management Committee member Chris Steffen who has been elected to the board of the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS). Chris, who is a director of Talani Quantity Surveyors represents ASAQS on our own committee and also leads our Procurement workgroup.
 
It is also with great pleasure that we can announce that the WCPDF is now a fully registered NPO. It is with no small measure that we extend our thanks to our Management Committee member Rod MacPhail for his diligence, perseverance and patience in accomplishing this task on our behalf. It is no mean feat.
 
Lastly, a final congratulations also goes to Neale Petersen and his team at REImag for being recognised as the “Best Real Estate Investment News Publication 2020 in South Africa” by International Build Magazine.