CESA Infrastructure Indaba Day 2 – Stakeholder Leadership and Collaboration for Infrastructure Delivery

Day 2 of the 7th Annual CESA Infrastructure Indaba, taking place at Southern Sun, OR Tambo International, focused on Leadership and the Politics of Infrastructure. In his closing remarks, Neresh Pather, CESA’s President, summed up the outcomes of the conference stating, “A strong theme of Collaboration for Infrastructure Delivery emerged from the conference with Government calling on the private sector to assist in providing both leadership, knowledge and capacity to Local, Provincial and National Government levels. There is a definite need for CESA and our over 540-member firms to provide support to ensure that as a country we get ‘value for money’ in rolling our infrastructure projects aimed at providing cost effective solutions.”

The second day of the CESA Infrastructure Indaba saw the focus move from Infrastructure Delivery and Investment; Water Security; and Transformation of the Industry to Leadership with the first session dealing with Delivering Value for Money in Infrastructure Procurement. First to speak was Dr Ron Watermeyer from Infrastructure Options who stated that, "Infrastructure spend is key to growing our economy, creating jobs and providing for our communities. Innovations and practices that contribute to successful project outcomes include Governance; Procurement and Putting in place the 'super client team' providing value for money and a Winning Solution". Dr Watermeyer said they are in the process of developing a Client Guide to Improving Project Outcomes and that courses need to be run to build capacity within the Public Sector, he encourages consulting engineering firms to provide support.

Dr Samuel Laryea from Wits University discussed the importance of having a good Construction Procurement Strategy and remarked that "Key for delivering value for money in Construction Procurement is an Innovative Construction Procurement Approach. The client is the leader of the Infrastructure delivery process - the role of the client is the single most important determination of success and value for money in Infrastructure projects”.

Professor Alison Lewis, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at UCT facilitated the Industry Integration and Engineering Collaboration session. In her introductory remarks she said, "One of our leadership challenges is the Promotion of the Engineering Profession. We have seen a lot of opportunities lost - Where were the Engineers in the current water crises ? Engineers need to be involved in unpacking issues around the current Cape Town Water Crises in assisting and educating the public. We need Engineers to be regarded as “Superheroes” if we are to command the respect that medical and legal professionals do.”

Eric Manchidi, President of the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Profession (SACPCMP) stated that, “Built Environment projects can only be delivered in an integrated collaborative environment.”
He further stated that “although we can't do away with specialization within the Built Environment industry, we need to ensure that there are degrees of integration to ensure collaboration within the project team.”

Cyril Gamede, President of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) explained their role as the Regulatory Body for the Engineering Profession. He believes that, "The Challenge of fees and their guidelines can be resolved through collaboration between CESA and ECSA to ensure the maintenance of engineering standards through viable and sustainable fees. He further referred to the option of using the fee guidelines published by the Department of Public Works and The Department of Public Service Administration in the absence of such guideline being published by ECSA as an interim measure."

Clint Koopman, President of the South African Black Technical and Allied Careers Organisation (SABTACO) stated that, "Transformation is a very important topic. If we want to solve the problem let's be aggressive in the way we approach it, we have to look at the value for our Country in embracing this challenge”. He further emphasized that “skills development is everyone's business; the Construction Industry Sector Scorecard compels all companies to invest in training". He believes that collaboration for the Sustainability of the Industry is in the interest of creating a legacy for our Youth.

"In order to lobby Government, you have to understand the system" said Political Analyst Ralph Mathekga in his presentation on the Politics of Infrastructure in which he discussed: The Road to NASREC; The Policy Battles; and Towards 2019. “If the ANC maintains a weak majority of less than 60% in the 2019 elections” Mathekga avers that, “there will be space to influence and lobby policy but that the Consulting Engineering industry regardless of this, needs to continue with its lobbying efforts”.

Neresh Pather, President of CESA concluded the CESA Indaba by stating that, "the CESA Infrastructure Indaba provided a platform for dialogue within the Industry and with Client bodies, allowing for sharing of thoughts and ideas from stakeholders across the Built Environment Industry, to maximise the value of the investment government makes in infrastructure and to this end we need to adopt a more collaborative approach”.