Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) is encouraged by the impassioned call from President Cyril Ramaphosa for commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership, a call which resonates strongly with that expressed by its own leadership. The organisation further commends President Ramaphosa for stating that infrastructure investment is key to growing the economy. CESA welcomes the intervention to decisively stabilise and revitalise state owned enterprises (SOEs) as well as those implicated in State Capture.
Chris Campbell, CEO of CESA applauds Ramaphosa for urging professional bodies and regulatory authorities to take action against members who are found to have acted improperly and unethically. As a professional body representing over 540 companies employing in excess of 24 000 people, CESA subscribes to a Business Integrity Management System where its members commit to upholding and assisting industry stakeholders in upholding the dignity, standards and reputation of the consulting industry.
CESA further commends President Ramaphosa for stating that infrastructure investment is key to efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, empower small businesses and provide services to our people.
As an Industry body, CESA has beenleading the call for a collaborative and sustainable approach to the manner in which the private sector supports government in effecting infrastructure delivery optimally, ensuring best value for money.
“We are actively developing tangible tools and continuously strengthening relationships in order to facilitate constructive support of the public sector to ensure effective delivery since our members are at the forefront of infrastructure development in South Africa and are able and keen to assist public authorities,” stresses Campbell.
To quote directly from the President’s address, namely, “As some of our projects are taking time to get off the ground and to enhance our efforts, I will assemble a team to speed up implementation of new projects, particularly water projects, health facilities and road maintenance. We have learnt some valuable lessons from our experience in building all the new infrastructure, which will inform our way ahead,”
CESA’s response to his call is, “SEND ME! WE ARE READY – SIKULUNGELE!”
In addition, CESA welcomes the intervention to decisively stabilise and revitalise state owned enterprises (SOEs) as well as those implicated in State Capture. State Capture impacts negatively on the credibility and day to day running of the SOE’s as fiduciary duties are ignored to serve self-interest and narrow agendas with procurement spend not yielding value for money returns.
“This begs the question as to whether the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999, is not just a blunt instrument, as nobody seems to be held to account and we still simply see Boards being ‘put out to pasture’ with executives exiting under a cloud with golden handshakes and questionable bonus payout prospects. This status quo cannot be sustained,” cautions Campbell.
“We will change the way that boards are appointed so that only people with expertise, experience and integrity serve in these vital positions.”stated Ramaphosa
CESA strongly believe that the appointment of members to the boards of SOE’s needs to be done on merit and be based on competence and suitability for the specific position. Cadre deployment into key positions onto the boards of SOE’s without meeting the competency and suitability criteria, plays a big role in maladministration, poor corporate governance and certainly creates a fertile environment for corruption to take place. The appointment of people who are qualified and competent for these positions, will go a long way towards helping the country address the infrastructure backlog and move forward in achieving the objectives of the National Development Plan.
As responsible citizens, CESA offers the expertise of experienced engineering practitioners who are able to assist in crafting the best engineering solutions to many of these technical challenges. CESA believes that it is the responsibility of government to hold these SOE’s to account and there is a need to rebuild the trust relationship between government and business in order to create the level of political certainty which will encourage private sector investment.
“We strongly believe that a correction in the focus of SOE’s needs to be enacted if we are to make economic transformation in our Country a reality,” he concludes.