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Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, will deliver the keynote address at the upcoming Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Infrastructure Indaba. The annual event, to be held from 5-6 March 2018 in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, aims to foster partnerships between government and the private sector, providing a “a platform to engage, network and share best practice required for improved service delivery within the built environment”.

Gauteng Infrastructure Development MECSpeakers and delegates will engage and deliberate on a variety of topics, including engineering the future, infrastructure development, and public and private investments, with a focus on capital intensive infrastructure projects. Other topics covered will include the role of clients and consulting engineers, transformation, delivering value for money in infrastructure procurement, industry integration and engineering collaboration, and the politics of infrastructure.

A session has been set aside to discuss water security. Experts participating in this session include Water and Sanitation Deputy Director General of Emergency Projects, Trevor Balzer; the Commissioner of the National Planning Commission, Percy Sechemane; and ERWAT’s Fortune Mabunda.

Infrastructure is a key component of the investment cycle by reducing the cost of doing business and enabling people to access markets more effectively. On average, South Africa has spent 6% of its GDP on infrastructure over the past 16 years. This loosely translates to about R300-billion each year.
Obsolete and poor infrastructure is a critical barrier to accelerating growth and service delivery.

CESA President Neresh Pather says it is a fallacy that increased spending on infrastructure will address the current problems in the industry. “Spending correctly and in the correct areas will afford us these benefits and is more important,” he says.

He adds that on the face of it, procurement is at the heart of many of the current blockages. Studies from various parts of the world, including South Africa, and references to the BS13500 standards from the UK, reference the “Role of the Client” as being fundamental in the success of infrastructure projects.

“The National Planning Commission has found that the emphasis of government procurement focused on compliance by box ticking has made the system costly, burdensome, ineffective and prone to fraud. These systems placed an excessive burden on weak support functions and focused on compliance instead of value for money. The current processes result in lengthy delays and blockages in the pipeline, affecting delivery of projects. By virtue of the large government expenditure required, we need to ensure that the correct objectives are driven,” Pather says.

“The Infrastructure Indaba will bring together leading experts including government officials, consulting engineers and built environment professionals for the purpose of improved delivery and management of public infrastructure.”

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