14 June 2012 – Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) has reiterated the need for the country’s government to get its house in order. The lack of infrastructure development due to projects not being undertaken as well as tender processes taking up to three years to materialise is, says CESA, in large part due to the lack of leadership within the government organisations.
Says Graham Pirie, CEO of CESA, “At provincial and municipal level, there is a grave lack of general engineering skill. The internal staff is not equipped to produce clear Terms of References (TORs) or even assess the final tenders due to lack of experience. This causes backlogs in the project process and spills over to the overall monitoring of deliverables.”
But experience is not the only problem, the lack of infrastructure projects being undertaken is also the result of the inconsistency in management and top leadership. Currently a significant number of CEOs, director-generals and top management are under suspension due to alleged corruption.
This leads to top posts being under custodianship and the substitute person simply gatekeeps the position with absolutely no decision making undertaken during that time. Says Pirie, “It is time to sort out the corruption and improve the process of procurement in the built environment, the private sector has a great deal of skill and experience and should be encouraged to assist government.” CESA is also concerned about the resignations of CEOs and senior staff from various parastatals and government departments coupled with no clear succession plan or announcement of incumbents.
This leaves uncertainty for their client market, which is largely the public, as well as their own staff who get demoralised and unsettled. When government and the private sector work together a valuable platform is created that grows the economy. Infrastructure projects need to become less political as this is fundamentally hindering the ability for projects at all levels to be successfully completed.