Thabo Masombuka, chief executive officer, Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC) told CNBC Africa that it was a travesty for the economy to continue being exclusive, excluding one sector of the population.
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He added that the government led empowerment initiatives needed to be broad based and all inclusive especially in the infrastructure sector.
“Our understanding is that infrastructure development in South Africa must be fair, equitable and accessible to those who were not historically part of the development,” he said.
Masombuka posited that the underlying rationale for empowerment in South Africa was that it must be broadly accessible.
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“The empowerment framework that underpins the construction sector must be benefiting those historically disadvantaged especially emerging contractors,” he said.
“We are starting to see more positive trends and increasingly more pressure is being exerted at all levels.”
Masombuka postulated that in the initial phases black economic empowerment (BEE) was optional as people would choose if they wanted to be part of it or not. However, as more pressure intensified from suppliers, regulators and the government companies started incorporating BEE as an imperative.
“A BEE certificate is no longer just a tick box requirement but is becoming a very influential and critical instrument in determining a bid in the public sector,” Masombuka noted.
The construction sector is however lagging behind as far as skills development is concerned prompting the government to move towards enacting legislative regime meant to address that.
“Results we released in April tell us that there is lesser investment in skills development in the industry which is a worrying trend,” said Masombuka.
“We need to start to change the drivers going forward as we are going to say for companies to get full and meaningful recognition they must invest in skills development and demonstrate to the verification agent the extent of that investment.”