The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a severe impact on all sectors of the economy.
The construction industry has been particularly hard hit as a result of construction sites having to close and projects put on hold.
Before the pandemic, the industry was facing enormous challenges, including but not limited to; Failing state-owned entities (SOEs), a stagnant economy, late payments and construction mafias.
In an interview with Cape Talk, the president of the Master Builders Association, John Matthews says the industry has already almost been destroyed by the tough economic environment but asserts that South Africa is a resilient country.
“So we can’t sit still. Right now we are all at home, but we have to do something. The initiative we have started is called the Construction Covid-19 Rapid Response Team, a task team that has been a brainchild of some of our national bodies,” he said.
The COVID -19 Construction Rapid Response Task Team has been established with participation from key industry bodies to look at the recovery of the industry post the lockdown.
The Task Team aims to collectively unblock relief measures for the industry to remain sustainable and to help the industry navigate its way through these ‘unchartered territories.’
“We started off with six national bodies to try and formulate a voluntary task team to try an unlock the construction industry post-Covid. We all support the president’s lockdown but what happens afterward?We need to have a plan in place,” said Matthews.
Some of the key issues that will be dealt with are:
- Identifying opportunities where the construction and built environment can assist in the national disaster and relief efforts both on a volunteer and professional basis.
- Interpretation of Regulations during lockdown and the absence of clear reference to the construction industry.
- Exploring of relief measures specific to the sector.
- Supporting emergency procurement for the next 12 months.
- Discuss interventions for the recovery of the industry.
- As part of the recovery, engage Government on the commitment to pay service providers within 30 days.
- Partner with Government to ensure effective and integrated rollout of infrastructure projects.
- Partner with private sectors in infrastructure development, etc.