08 Feb SAICE: Back to basics required to re-vitalize and re-invent SA’s economy
8 February 2021: Accelerated and efficient infrastructure procurement roll-out, addressing the current fiscal imbalance in the economy, and achieving the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) requires a strategic focus on not just the short-term, but the medium- to long-term delivery of basic services in South Africa, states The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA).
SAICE, a significant role player in infrastructure development in South Africa, is calling on government to revitalize and re-build the South African economy by focusing on key pillars that are fundamental to service delivery – technology, skills development, society [at a grass roots level], sustainability and the integration of key institutions to have a common vision linked to the objectives of the NDP.
“Alleviating poverty, inequality and unemployment, and focusing on improved skills development and inclusivity requires us to truly understand that these key pillars need to be integrated in order to be impactful – there is an urgent need to remove the disconnect, and to understand that behind these challenges are real people with real issues,” Vishaal Lutchman, SAICE CEO states.
Lutchman calls on government to engage institutions, such as SAICE that have industry experts that are seasoned in technical and strategic competencies to help innovate with a common purpose to achieve the strategic objectives of the NDP. “We need new thinking and innovation around our long-term strategic planning. This type of planning will provide us with the tools to continue to grow the economy even in times of crisis. If we can integrate the current work streams, there is an opportunity for convergence and a home-made South African solution for infrastructure delivery.”
“In closing the gaps that hinder the delivery of basic services in South Africa; policy and procurement needs to be integrated to achieve a common vision that does not focus only on what needs to be done, but more strategically on how it should be done,” explains Lutchman.
Further, understanding the challenges faced by the South African economy considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SAICE re-iterates the importance of having a robust, multi-year project pipeline. “Such projects don’t change from year to year; it is a pipeline that is stress tested; it has merit, and it is feasible even though it may not be funded. But it is integrated, it makes sense and will assist with the many strategic initiatives that are linked to the NDP, for example.”