Author : Minister of Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel
13 December 2013
The Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC), a registered trade associati in for employers in the building industry, has welcomed the Infrastructure Development Bill that was recently introduced to Parliament by Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel.
According to Patel, the Bill is intended to strengthen the capacity of government to implement the rollout of infrastructure, and is thus at the heart of our efforts to improve the lives of citizens.
MBAWC executive director, Rob Johnson, says they hope that should the Bill be adopted, it will result in more work for their members, greater opportunities for future employment, a sustainable industry, less red tape and the elimination of nepotism and corruption.
In his speech Patel outlined some of the key provisions of the Bill:
More work for members
“The Bill provides for the designation of Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) through the National Infrastructure Plan. To date, the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) has identified 18 SIPs which bring together hundreds of separate construction projects [that] include improving schools across the country, opening the northern mining belt or developing the south eastern coastal regions.
Future employment opportunities and a sustainable industry.
The Bill provides for a planning framework for infrastructure, with a long-range plan.
This ensures that we move beyond the stop-start pattern of infrastructure, it allows universities and FET colleges to tool up to produce the skills that will be needed for the next 20 to 30 years, and it gives investors the certainty that they need to commit to long-term investment in the domestic economy.
Less red tape
The Bill sets time frames for the approval of regulatory decisions affecting the implementation of infrastructure projects. Instead of sequential approval processes, it provides for processes to run concurrently wherever possible. This ensures that the state works to a common deadline.
It sets out processes of coordination that require regulators and relevant departments to work closely together through steering committees for each SIP that will coordinate efforts to speed up the implementation of infrastructure construction and completion.
Eliminating nepotism and corruption
The Bill contains clear mechanisms to avoid conflicts of interest between decision makers and the underlying projects, as part of government’s anti-corruption drive.
It provides for tough penalties for corruption, including imprisonment for up to five years.
Patel ended his speech by saying, “Passing the Bill will ensure that the successes with our infrastructure rollout are sustained and indeed strengthened in the coming years that jobs are created, that inclusive growth is promoted, that public and private investment levels are lifted, that we strike a blow against poverty, inequality and unemployment.”
“We fully support the Minister’s sentiments and hope to see the provisions set out in the Bill come to fruition and believe that not only will the Bill be of benefit to our current and future members, but to the industry as a whole and to the building of the Western Cape and furthering its economy,” adds Johnson.