CESA Infrastructure Indaba Day 1– Engineering the Future now!
MEC for Infrastructure Development in Gauteng Jacob Mamabolo, Keynote Speaker at the 7th Annual CESA Infrastructure Indaba, taking place at Southern Sun, OR Tambo International, told the conference that it gives him pleasure to spend time with fellow industry players especially consulting engineers and built environment professionals “as we seek ways to improve our work in the delivery of infrastructure projects that are a key anchor and an enabler to a growing a thriving economy”.
He stated that we have a new President and a new cabinet. In his inaugural State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa has ushered in a new dawn. He made a clarion call to private, public and civil society sectors and organisations to pull together to bring a new energy and a new hope for our country. “We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us because a new dawn is upon us. There are 57 million of us, each with different histories, languages, cultures, experiences, views and interests all working towards a prosperous South Africa.”
MEC Mamabolo noted that in the current term, government has invested close to a trillion Rand in infrastructure development; this is the clearest indication of the state’s resolve to grow the economy so that we create job opportunities to finally strike a crucial blow to historic challenges of inequality and poverty. He stated that infrastructure delivery is at the heart of this.
“As an industry, you are an important enabler of this new dawn. I say this because I’m well aware of the gaps that still exist in the Built Environment industry. It is no secret that our industry, one of the oldest is still characterised by numerous delays and wastage through corruption”.
He challenged the industry to bring innovation to the forefront that will allow it to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution while continuing to make strides in the delivery of infrastructure. Mamabolo stated that a lot of responsibility has been given to the industry through the investment in infrastructure and that we need to do things differently. “Through the use of technology, artificial intelligence and our human capital I believe we will be able to turn around how projects are delivered”.
“We have entered into an exciting period as a Nation and as Province, but this new dawn needs us to be ready for it. We could easily fall back into pessimism or choose to realign our outlook so that we are part of the solution. Our industry has an opportunity to inspire a new thinking and a new approach that can make the new dawn not just an ideal but a reality that can start impacting communities now,” he concluded.
Neresh Pather, CESA President in his opening address welcomed MEC Mamabolo’s invitation to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bring quality based consulting engineering services to the Department of Infrastructure Development.
The first day of the CESA Infrastructure Indaba saw a wide variety of presentations from industry stakeholders all aimed at ‘Engineering the Future now! The first session facilitated by CESA Deputy President, Sugen Pillay focused on Infrastructure Delivery with presentations from Elsie Snyman an Economist from Industry Insights who discussed key trends in the industry. This was followed by Themba Dladla from the National Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs who focused on MISA – the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency which is focused on Sustainable Infrastructure Planning Implementation; Implementation of Infrastructure Projects; Operation and Maintenance and Building Capacity within Municipalities.
The second session focused on Public and Private Investment which kicked off with a presentation from Chitambala John Sikazwe from the World Bank, followed by Crouse Schoeman, Head of Strategic Construction and Maintenance Projects at the Development Bank of SA (DBSA).
The third session for the day focused on Water Security with Mbangi Nepfumbada from Rand Water gave a presentation focusing on Planning for Water Security from a National Development Plan (NDP) perspective. He was followed by Trevor Balzer from the Department of Water and Sanitation who presented the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan – Building a Water Secure Future. Balzer stated that “Our challenge is not necessarily about building new infrastructure but it is about dealing with and maintaining our current assets to get them functioning optimally”. Balzer stated, "Our challenge is that across the country 144 municipalities are designated as Water Supply Authorities - some of these municipalities are not fully functional, this coupled with the issue of aging and poorly maintained infrastructure exacerbates the issue"
The final session for the day dealt with Transformation – Beyond the Scorecard facilitated by Abbas Jamie, CESA Board member and member of the CESA Transformation Committee which resulted in robust, honest and open debate. Jabulile Msiza presented Transformation from the perspective of CESA’s Young Professionals Forum (YPF). Stanley Bongwe from the Diversity Institute gave a presentation about Diversity - Winning Work Behaviours. He stated, “Success in this arena requires a deeper understanding of diversity in the workplace, which includes understanding the subtleties of human behaviour. Companies need to realize how strong they can become as a result of leveraging from the diversity within their organisations to achieve creativity and innovation for success".