Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), strongly opposes the call by Minister Tokyo Sexwale to create a state-owned construction company.

Speaking on behalf of their 470 member firms, employing in excess of 22 000 employees, president of CESA, Naren Bhojaram strongly states: “The state should not set up structures in competition with the private sector. They should be creating a platform and a conducive environment for the private sector to excel.” He contends that this is what will grow the economy and create jobs.”

He goes on to say that our country already has too much political interference in public tenders, whether direct or indirect. CESA also strongly disagrees with President Zuma’s statements in a recent parliamentary debate where he lends support to politicians being involved in private companies.

CESA finds this practice fundamentally compromising and lacking in transparency. Politicians should choose their careers well, either stick to politics and refrain from getting involved with the private sector doing business with the state or get out of politics and join the private sector in doing business with the state.

Bhojaram believes that the state should focus on their priorities, which include the following for the built environment sector:

1. Ensuring that experienced technical staff is brought back into Government to manage infrastructure projects. This will enable the writing proper Terms of References for projects, effectively assessing tenders and monitoring deliverables provided by the private sector
2. Sorting out corruption
3. Sorting out the procurement process in the built environmentsector generally, but specifically for the professional services providers, by recognising quality or functionality as essential in a single evaluation process for tenders alongside price and preference
4. Inviting the private sector to come up with innovative ideas for infrastructure development by recognising and streamlining the unsolicited bid and PPP process

Bhojaram concludes “CESA invites government to engage with us to find solutions to these problems so that together we could make a better life for all.”

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