The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) presented their 2018/19 Annual Reports. The Deputy Minister was in attendance.
The CIDB indicated that it achieved 23 out of 30 of its annual targets. This was a significant improvement compared to the previous year. The Auditor-General’s (AG) audit outcome for the entity was an unqualified opinion with a few material findings. The main challenge preventing a clean audit was the quality of the annual financial statements and the annual performance report received for auditing.
The entity also faced some challenges. The lack of transformation expressed in terms of ownership and access to work opportunities was most pronounced at the higher grades of contractors – particularly in grades 7 to 9.The number of women-owned smaller contracting companies in grades 2 to 6 was found to be decreasing. Women-owned contractors amounted to around 30% of all contracting enterprises.. To promote the role of women in construction, the entity hosted its Celebrating Women in Construction breakfast in Pretoria on 17 August 2018.
The entity managed to generate total revenue of about R190.014 million during FY18/19; this was through government grants, registration fees, finance income, i.a. The total current expenditure was R162.35 million, leaving an operating surplus of about R26.845 million (accounting for loss on disposal).
Members appreciated the entity’s unqualified audit and its efforts in aspiring for a clean audit. They noted that the entity achieved 23 of its 30 annual targets and asked how it would improve this in order to maximise its economic contribution within the construction industry. Members asked how the entity would address its key vacancies which were raised by the AG as a major concern. They reckoned that these vacancies seemed to affect the entity’s overall performance and caused its internal controls and compliance to be inadequate. They also urged the entity to review and revise some of its norms and standards and reckoned that the committee needed to have a joint meeting with the CIDB, CBE and the councils. Members recognised the grading designation of the number of contractors who were beneficiaries of monetary allocation; they asked for an indication of the amounts of money given to these contractors. What are the demographics and the geographical spread of these contractors?In the grading designation, has there ever been any discussion about the necessity of prior knowledge?
The CBE indicated that it obtained a clean audit for 2018/19 without any material findings.The entity had 21 annual targets and managed to achieve18 of them - this constituted 86% achievement of the targets.
One of the key challenges was that only two of the six Councils for the Built Environment (CBPEs) submitted their annual performance plans (APPs) to the CBE. The CBE was addressing this through its meetings with the Registrars and the Presidents of the six CBEPs. The plan was to train their council members to exercise their oversight role over these CBEPs.
The CBE indicated that it generated total revenue amounting to R54.669 million. The entity received a grant allocation of R50.1 million from Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and also received R2.158 million from CBEP levies. Other sources of funding were the operating income of R1.39 million and interest of R1.021 million. The total budgeted expenditure for the year was R54.369 million but theactual expenditure incurred amounted to R55.161 million (overspending by 1.5%).
Members congratulated the entity for yet another clean audit. They expressed that it was encouraging to have at least one exemplary entity. Members asked about the role played by the CBE in schools within rural areas, particularly in promoting the built environment. They also sked if the entity’s Transformation Indaba would also be rolled out to all the provinces. Members asked about the role of built environment professionals in the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP). Are the graduates in the construction industry and built environment fields being correctly integrated into the EPWP? What is being done to help fast-track the process of converting the 31 637 registered candidates into professionals? How could councils be better regulated in how they deal with candidates?
The Deputy Minister pointed out that a further analysis of the gender representation of registered professionals could reveal that the small proportion of female professionals could well be concentrated in one field within the built environment. She suggested that the entity should further breakdown the goal of establishing gender equity by targeting specific levels of female inclusivity amongst the different fields, during the candidacy stage.
The Committee was looking forward to a joint meeting scheduled in two weeks with the CBE and CBEPs on implementing the pipeline for graduates to become professionally registered.
Briefing by the CIDB
Mr Ebrahim Moola, Acting Chief Executive Officer, CIDB, indicated that the entity achieved 23 out of 30 of its annual targets. This was a significant improvement compared to the previous finacial year. One of the key targets was to increase alternate revenue streams to 75% by 2020, starting with generating about R91.886 million through other revenue streams in FY18/19. However, the revenue generated exceeded the target, amounting to R116 806 352 for the year. The entity also wanted to achieve a 4th level of maturity of ICT governance framework by 2020 by limiting the downtime of multiple system to 15%; the system downtime was contained within the target of under 15% and the firewall was updated to protect the information of the organisation and its contractors. The entity also ensured that it complied with legislative requirements by paying all of its service providers with 30 days. Another target was to establish sound stakeholder relations and improved customer satisfaction levels by 2020; the achieved stakeholder perception index of 55% was more than double the target.An average of 3.46 employee performance rating was achieved for 162 employees assessed, exceeding the target of 3.3%. These targets were all related to the entity’s administration programme.
For the programme on development and capacitation, the entity aimed to improve the availability of developmental support to at least 0.05% of the total construction industry Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) by 2020; 76% of the provincial business advisory services were offered to Contractors at grades 2 to 6 index. Also, 22 TVET colleges participated in World Skills SA construction trade competitions.The three national winners were selected to take part in 2019 World Skills International Competition in Kazan, Russia in August 2019. They were from Gert Sibande TVET College (bricklaying), Shukela Training Centre (electrical installations) and College of Cape Town (plumbing). All of them underwent intensive training in preparation for the ultimate test of vocational skills excellence.
The entity also faced some challenges. The lack of transformation expressed in terms of ownership and access to work opportunities was most pronounced at the higher grades of contractors – particularly in grades 7 to 9. The number of women-owned smaller contracting companies in grades 2 to 6 was found to be decreasing. Women-owned contractors amounted to around 30% of all contracting enterprises. Over the past three years, black-owned contractors have accessed around 54% of total public sector contract awards, with women-owned enterprises being awarded around 25% of total public sector contract awards. To promote the role of women in construction, the entity hosted its Celebrating Women in Construction breakfast in Pretoria on 17 August 2018. The event afforded guests a platform to connect to celebrate their successes, discuss matters of common concern, and network with fellow contractors and potential clients.On 23 August 2019 the structured ERWIC Women recognition process commenced.
Mr Sifiso Nsibande, Chief Financial Officer, CIDB, indicated that the Auditor-General’s (AG) audit outcome for the entity was an unqualified opinion with a few material findings. The main challenge preventing a clean audit was the quality of the annual financial statements and the annual performance report received for auditing. Some of the other focus areas of the findings were included theneed for improved records management and implementation of policies and procedures. Key vacancies also needed to be filled.
Mr Nsibande indicated that the entity managed to generate total revenue of about R190.014 million during FY18/19; this was through government grants, registration fees, finance income, i.a. The total current expenditure was R162.35 million, leaving an operating surplus of about R26.845 million (accounting for loss on disposal). The entity projected a medium-term expenditure of about R184.191 million for FY19/20, across its four programmes.
Mr W Thring (ACDP) welcomed the presentation, appreciated the entity’s unqualified audit and its efforts in aspiring for a clean audit. He noted that the entity achieved 23 of its 30 annual targets and asked how it would improve this in order to maximise its economic contribution within the construction industry. He also asked why the entity’s GFCF was only 0.000056% instead of the targeted 0.05%; what caused such a discrepancy?
Mr Thring also asked why only 118 out of the targeted 1 000 learners received work-based learning opportunities. He added that the target was soft, given that there were hundreds of thousands of learners around the country.
Ms A Siwisa (EFF) asked if the entity had any other revenues streams or if the entity depended on payments made by its contractors.
Ms Siwisa asked how many of the students that participated in World Skills SA construction trade competitions were female and if any of the winners were female. If there were no females, what caused this; how will it be addressed? How will SA benefit from the winners that were taken to Russia?
Ms Siwisa asked if preference, in the allocation of projects, was given to contractors within the area where the particular project would be done.
Ms S Graham (DA) thanked the entity for its presentation and congratulated it on a positive audit outcome.
Ms Graham asked about the performance of the three national winners at the 2019 World Skills International Competition. What were the lessons from the experience and how could they be applied by these learners in their practices within the SA construction industry.
Ms Graham indicated that the Committee had deliberated with the Independent Development Trust (IDT) about the construction mafia. She suggested that one of the ways in which new SMEs could be prevented from holding contractors hostage would be through enforcing a CIDB classification arrangement. This would involve ensuring that all SMEs and sub-contractors are classified and form part of the entity’s contract register; thus strengthening the CIDB’s arm and protect the contractors. Project delays would also be minimised. She then asked if there was a link between the entity’s competence standard and its registration process. Does the entity separate its classification criteria according to monetary allocations and competence? Why are these criteria not both imperative?
Ms Graham asked about the contractor fines of R405 000. On what basis are the contractors being fined? Are they based on the entity’s code of conduct? To whom does the code apply to and how is it enforced?
Ms Graham noted that the entity’s rental expenses increased by about R3 million. Given that the entity indicated that it does not pay rent for most of its offices because it is subsidised by the DPWI, what caused this increase? She also asked the entity to account for the R500 000 increase in venue expenses.
Ms S Kopane (DA) asked how the entity ensured its compliance with legislative requirements by paying all of its service providers within 30 days. What is the entity doing differently compared to the other entities under the DPWI?
Ms Kopane asked the entity to clarify the 27 fixed-term contracts reflecting its employment number by occupational level. At which level are these contracts situated within the organisation? Is the one disabled employee working on a fixed-term or a temporary contract?
Ms Kopane asked how the entity would address its key vacancies which were raised by the AG as a major concern. She said that these vacancies seemed to affect the entity’s overall performance and caused its internal controls and compliance to be inadequate. The AG also found a lack of sufficiently qualified and skilled staff to support senior management; a lack of training and development interventions being conducted to capacitate middle management who can provide supervision over lower level employees; and a lack of accountability amongst these middle managers. How will the entity address these concerns?
Ms L Shabalala (ANC) welcomed the presentation by the CIDB. She appreciated that the entity’s projected budget for the next three years was incremental. She hoped the entity’s initiatives such as its incubation programme would also improve with time, while taking cognisance of the national demographics.
Ms Shabalala recognised the grading designation of the number of contractors who were beneficiaries of monetary allocations. She asked for an indication of the amounts of money given to these contractors. What are their demographics and the geographical spread of these contractors? She noted that the entity quoted the President on how work experience had an impact on the extent of integration into the mainstream economy. In the entity’s grading designation, has there ever been any discussion about the necessity of prior knowledge?
Ms Shabalala asked the entity to indicate the exact projects that had been run by the municipalities mentioned during the presentation. In the CIDB’s view, do these projects have sufficient value for money and impact in the communities served by these municipalities?
Ms Shabalala pointed out that the entity did not clearly indicate its budget allocation for its endeavour of automating its ICT systems. This was crucial for the entity to not find itself overspending beyond its total budget.
Ms Shabalala asked if it was not possible for the entity to share its legal services with the Department and to work wih other entities in undertaking incubation initiatives to maximise their impact and limit costs.
The Chairperson appreciated the entity’s positive audit outcome and that the entity had already came up with turnaround strategies and action plans to address the concerns raised by the AG.
The Chairperson recounted that during the committee’s oversight visit to the CBE earlier in the year, the professional councils, especially SACAP, raised that the CIDB was responsible for coming up with norms and standards, including the 80/20 preference point system. This system ensured that tenders would be mostly allocated to private sector businesses that had been operating for several years; thus excluding newer black-owned companies from the system. The Chairperson urged the entity to review and revise these norms and standards and reckoned that the committee needed to have a joint meeting with the CIDB, CBE and the councils.
The Chairperson asked how the entity was ensuring that projects were also being allocated to women-owned companies, as prescribed by law and as part of realising economic transformation.
Mr Thring indicated that the average ICT system downtime in the private sector was about 1%. And stated that the entity’s target of 15% of downtime was too tolerant. Why such a loose target?
Ms Nonkululeko Sindane, Board Chairperson, CIDB, indicated that the delegation committed to submitting written responses to some of the questions it may not have sufficient time to satisfactorily respond to.
Ms Sindane said that the entity had been working on the capacitated process for a very long time. She said it was important to thoroughly understand the mandate of the entity, what capacity it would need to realise that mandate and the job grading necessary. This process was finalised in October 2018 but took longer than anticipated because it was also inherited by the current Board from the previous one. The new Board had to become acclimated to the conditions, processes and procedures. There also had to be consultations between management and organised labour as well as the Board. The Department had since granted permission for the entity to fill its key vacancies; this would help stabilise the entity’s leadership. The Board encouraged the executive management of CIDB to fill the vacancies but also ensured that it did not interfere with the process and undermine the management’s authority.
Ms Sindane claimed that some of the poorly defined annual targets were due to the organisational instability caused by incapacity in key positions. This instability also had an inevitable impact on the entity’s overall performance. However, the entity did the best it could under the circumstances. Also, not all of the findings were material.
She said that the National Treasury (NT) had been very kind to the CIDB in allocating rollover funds to it because the entity had also been transparent in justifying its financial needs. The rentals were on an unsustainable month-to-month basis until the entity was relieved by the NT. She said that the entity was under pressure to conclude the procurement of its premises in the different provinces.
Mr Moola thanked the Members for their comprehensive questions and inputs. He assured them that the entity was striving towards achieving a clean audit outcome for the coming years, starting with the plan to improve the setting of its annual targets.
Mr Moola said that the GFCF target was 0.05% on the entity’s strategic plan but once it seemed unattainable, it was lowered to 0.01% as an annual target.
Mr Moola indicated that there were some pipeline regulations that would facilitate the entity’s work-based learning programme and improve its reach. These were awaiting the Minister’s approval.
Mr Moola indicated that one of the three national winners who was selected to take part in 2019 World Skills International Competition in Russia was a female. He added that the winners did not perform well at the event; this highlighted the need to equip TVET colleges to better train their students. He also said that the CIDB would do better in tracking these students and ensure that they were integrated into the construction industry.
Mr Moola said that there were ongoing discussions with NT about clearly defining the locality of projects, according to CIDB’s norms and standards on contract participation goals; also ensuring that there were no contradictions and differences of positions between the two parties.
Mr Moola said that the subcontractors would now be required to be registered on the CIDB contract register. This would also allow the entity to regulate them. The entity’s register had to have a balance between inclusion and credibility. The entity conducted consultations for possibly amending the criteria to take into account the competence recognition of potential contractors. The demographics and geographical spread, of the allocation of contracts, were reasonably inclusive; however, the higher grade businesses were located where the bigger projects were concentrated. The CIDB Act was being reviewed for better inclusion of black-owned businesses and prioritisation of women-owned businesses in the system.
Mr Moola indicated that the entity currently had fixed-term contracts at all levels of contractors. This was to give them an equal benefits and opportunity to feature in the entity’s organisational design. He also confirmed that there was one disabled (partially blind) employee working on a fixed-term contract. The entity had also identified the key positions required for the support of senior management and the advertisement of these positions was to soon be rolled out; certain business units, such as finance, registration and compliance enforcement, would also be upgraded with the necessary human capital. Part of the organisational design would include the improvement of the existing training programmes to boost staff development and capacitation.
Mr Moola agreed that the ICT system downtime tolerance should not be above 1%. He indicated that the entity had begun transitioning its ICT services into being cloud-based. This arrangement was better capable of minimising downtime below 1%.
Mr Moola said that there was a lot of work needed to be done to address the construction mafia that were disrupting ongoing projects. He indicated that there were prescripts, such as the Procurement Bill, being processed; these would soon be implemented.
Ms Sindane said that the CIDB could do better in engaging the contractors, especially the ones who were already part of the entity’s register, who were disrupting projects done by other contractors. She said that some of the concerns being raised by these contractors were legitimate but the entity just could not readily provide short-term solutions for them. She said that limiting the scope of contractors according to their local municipalities would not be a good idea; it would prevent them from obtaining work within other nearby municipalities because they would be considered foreign to those municipalities. The local contractors would rightfully demand being chosen as first preference.
Mr Nsibande indicated that the CIDB managed to also generate revenue from its contractors amounting to about R500 million;and another portion from investments amounting to R240 million.
Mr Nsibande indicated that the R500 000 increase in venue expenses was because the entity hosted several activities that required venues to be hired. The rental increase was because the entity had to start paying rent for office spaces which it had not previously paid for - such as the one based in Mpumalanga; the DPWI was no longer able to subsidise the entity.
Mr Nsibande said that the drastic improvement in the entity’s improvement was due to commitment of the executive as well as the oversight and assistance of the Board.
Mr Nsibande recounted that in FY17/18, NT approved a rollover of about R30 million for the development of the CIDB’s IT infrastructure, including introducing a cloud-based system for the entity. An external company was hired for this task.
Mr Moola said that the competence recognition system provided for the process of assessing the previous experience of contractors. The criteria and registration rules were also amended to account for this assessment.
Mr Moola indicated that the review of the CIDB Act was currently underway. However, the entity was still enforcing provisions of the Act and the regulations, including the code of conduct. The code applied to every person under the employ of the entity, including the contractors. The CIDB was legally pursuing the companies that had breached the code and refused to cooperate by paying the required penalty fees.
The Chairperson thanked the CIDB delegation for the presentation and responses to the questions and comments by the Members. She appreciated that there was an imminent amendment of some of the entity’s policies.
The Chairperson reckoned that it was not just for the consequence of collusion to be limited to penalty fees. These fines were like “a drop in the ocean” compared to the money they had. There should be harsher sentences which will force them to change their ways.
Briefing by the CBE
Ms Priscilla Mdlalose, Chief Executive Officer, CBE, indicated that the entity obtained a clean audit for 2018/19 without any material findings.The entity had 21 annual targets and managed to achieve18 of them - this constituted 86% achievement of the targets.
For workplace training, 52 candidates were placed during the FY18/19. Four candidates achieved professional registration and three candidates were invited for Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) interviews with the South African Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP) in May and June 2019. Two of these candidates were admitted as professional quantity surveyors. Since the CBE support programme started in 2014 there had been a total of 15 candidates registered as professionals.The CBE also exceeded its target by placing 139 students for work-integrated learning (WIL) in the year. There was a positive variance of 39 on the supported 139 students; 86 of these students completed the WIL component of their studies.
In line with the CBE 2018/19 APP, the CBE hosted its Annual Transformation Indaba on 7-8 February 2019. The theme “Igniting the possibilities…” was aimed at unlocking the Built Environment Skills Pipeline through adequate resource mobilization, skills development and collaborative interventions to drive transformation into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). On 18 July 2018, the CBE staff and council members participated in a 67-minute programme at the Mamelodi Second Change Recovery Centre to mark Mandela Day; they donated and planted trees with the youth being rehabilitated at the centre.
One of the key challenges was that only two of the six Councils for the Built Environment Professions (CBEPs) submitted their annual performance plans (APPs) to the CBE. The Acts of the six councils do not require them to submit their APPs; they only compelled them to submit their annual reports within six months at the end of each financial year. The non-submission of four of the CBEPs was due to their governance problems which delayed the signing off of the documents. The CBE was addressing this through its meetings with the Registrars and the Presidents of the six CBEPs. The plan was to train their council members to exercise their oversight role over these CBEPs.
Ms Lindy Jansen van Vuuren, Chief Financial Officer, CBE, indicated the entity generated total revenue amounting to R54.669 million. The CBE received a grant allocation of R50.1 million from Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and also received R2.158 million from CBEP levies. Other sources of funding were the operating income of R1.39 million and interest of R1.021 million. The total budgeted expenditure for the year was R54.369 million but theactual expenditure incurred amounted to R55.161 million (overspending by 1.5%). Page 102 of the entity’s annual report included a detailed breakdown of the financial statement.
Mr Thring suggested that the students who were placed in the WIL programme should be required to pay back the stipends they received, whether monetarily or through community service.
Mr Thring commended the CBE for obtaining a clean audit for the third consecutive year but expressed concern about the 4% decrease in the entity’s target performance from the previous year. He also asked about the CBE IT governance framework target that was not achieved in FY18/19. What turnaround strategy will be applied in the following year to ensure that this target is achieved?
Mr Thring enquired about the accuracy of the entity’s professional registration statistics. He asked if the entity accounted for professionals who were based abroad. How does CBE keep its record updated?
Ms Siwisa asked about the role played by the CBE in schools within rural areas, particularly in promoting the built environment. She then asked if the entity’s Transformation Indaba would also be rolled out to all the provinces.
Ms Siwisa asked why certain targets were only catering for metropolitan municipalities and not local municipalities.
Ms Graham congratulated the entity for yet another clean audit. She expressed that it was encouraging to have at least one exemplary entity.
Ms Graham recalled that the DPWI had published a draft built environment professional policy in 2014 and the CBE subsequently proposed provisions in 2017. She asked for a status update on this undertaking and the steps to be taken henceforth.
Ms Graham asked whether the entity’s CPD programme was aligned with the CIDB or running independently, under the CBE. She pointed out that there seemed to be duplication of work amongst the different entities working under the DPWI and these needed to be consolidated.
Ms Graham pointed out that item 3.3, on page 48 of the CBE 2018/19 Annual Report, did not correspond with the target listed on the above heading.
Ms Graham asked what was being done by the entity about the accreditation of the programme mentioned in page 174, at the educational institutions. Were these institutions being regularly visited and monitored?
Ms Graham said that there should be a direct oversight mechanism put in place over the various councils that were operating under the CBE, considering that it was not mandatory for them to submit their reports to the CBE.
Ms Kopane asked about the CBE’s plan and the timeframe within which it would help convert the 31 637 registered candidates into professionals.
Mrs Kopane asked the entity to elaborate on the nature of the complaints that were submitted by the various councils.
Ms Kopane asked why there was zero training expenditure for programme three (Table 38 on page 92 of the annual report). Does this mean there was no training conducted despite there being a budget allocated for it?
Mrs Kopane asked why employment and vacancies statistics were not indicated for programme five.
Ms Kopane indicated that despite the entity’s clean audit, the AG had complained about contract extensions, within the entity and its councils,which were done without imperative approval. The AG also found that the entity was involved in irregular expenditure, by multiple entities, of about R6.1 million. What is the entity’s account for these findings?
Mr M Nxumalo (IFP) commended the entity for the consistent excellence in its audit report.
Mr Nxumalo asked about the role of BEPs in the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP). Are the graduates in the construction industry and built environment fields being correctly integrated into the EPWP? What is being done to help fast-track the process of converting registered candidates into professionals? How could councils be better regulated in how they deal with candidates?
Ms Shabalala congratulated the CBE for its financial performance. She hoped that the entity’s strategic plan would be bridge the gap between the entity and the communities in the different provinces. She stressed the committee’s resolution of identifying the need to meet all the CBEPs in order to synchronise and consolidate the strategic plan throughout all of them.
Ms Shabalala noted that one of the AG’s findings was related to CBE’s EPWP operations with a municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, allegedly without consulting the local government for consent.
Ms Shabalala commended the entity on its revenue collection but encouraged it to champion the registration of candidates as professionals so they could better participate in the economy.
Ms Jansen van Vuuren said that one of the annual targets that were not met was to fully implement the Electronic – Built Environment (E-BE) System in any three CBEPs by 31 March 2019. The councils’ terms expired before the tenders were finalised; this delayed the process of implementing the system. The system had since been created on track to be implemented in the next financial year.
Another failed target was to implement an IT Governance Framework, in line with DPSA’s Corporate Governance of ICT Policy Framework, by 31 March 2019. The entity had planned to implement all six of the planned policies during the course of the financial year. The internal auditors mistakenly thought that the CBE had planned to implement 100% of each of the six policies, including each and every control within each policy. There were a total of 130 controls; the auditors found six controls that had not yet been implemented and therefore reported that the entity had failed to reach its annual target. There was then a disagreement between the CBE and the auditors. The CBE felt that no organisation could ever implement 100% of each of its policies; there would always be some margin of error. The target had since been amended and would be implemented in the next year. These failed targets caused a decline, from the previous year, in the percentage of targets reached.
Ms Jansen van Vuuren explained that the zero training expenditure was because the function was undertaken by the research unit and the expenses were reflected under programme three.
Ms Jansen van Vuuren indicated that the CBE contributed about R142 000 in the total irregular expenditure found by the AG. This was linked to contract extensions; R13 000 was an overspill from the previous financial year incurred in one of the extensions. One of the contract extension processes was terminated as soon as the entity realised it was overspending. The rest of the expenditure occurred in four instances related to staff training which was done through external institutions. The auditors found these on the deviation register and felt that the entity should have done this under the normal procurement channels but the entity did not agree. The entity would soon receive a written consultation feedback on how to conduct training. The entity would also do thorough due diligence on its service providers to verify their credibility.
Ms Mdlalose welcomed the suggestion of requiring some of form of payback from the students placed on the WIL programme.
Ms Mdlalose said that the CBEPs kept it in touch with their professionals because they have to register on an annual basis, including the ones based abroad. This makes the statistics accurate. The entity had also committed to helping more candidates to become professional, through its structured candidacy framework. There was a pilot project which was run to identify the challenges that candidates were facing in the workplace; some were found to not be doing work that made them eligible to be registered as professionals. The entity would then advise the companies, especially those in the public sector, to rotate their candidates so they may be exposed to different work experiences. This would help the candidates to align their portfolios with the 12 engineering outcomes which were required by the councils. The entity was also engaging the engineering SETAs, pleading for them to change their policies and pay stipends to the candidates so they may financially able to register.
Ms Mdlalose indicated that the entity was supporting the DPWI and the CBEPs in their community outreach programmes to rural communities. A way of improving the entity’s reach would be to also work with the Department of Basic Education as well as municipalities by participating in their initiatives in rural districts. The CBE also planned to strengthen its marketing strategy and budget to improve its footprint.
Ms Mdlalose explained that the entity wanted its candidacy programme to be adopted not only by metropolitans but also municipalities as well as private sector. However, the entity was still limited in its internal capacity – having only three staff members who were dealing with skills for infrastructure delivery.
Ms Mdlalose said that the draft built environment professional policy was a function of the DPWI. The Department was currently working on it and would soon finalise it and present it to Parliament along with the CBE.
Ms Mdlalose said that CIDB’s mandate was to focus on contractors through its Contract Programme Development (CPD); whereas the CBE had to focus on built environment professionals (BEPs) – through its Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Programme. These programmes were distinct. Some contractors under the CIDB were not BEPs.
Ms Mdlalose explained that the entity was not responsible for the accreditation of the educational institutions but had to monitor the way in which the accreditation was done; to ensure consistent and uniform application amongst the different institution.
Ms Mdlalose indicated that the CBE was responsible for oversight over the CBEPs. The CBE did receive the reports from the councils but would usually consolidate them into its annual report.The Minister had since asked the entity to submit quarterly performance reports on the councils, to her office. The councils would now also attend the CBE’s biannual meetings with the Department.
She indicated that the CBE would be coming to Parliament on 23 October 2019 with the CBEPs. The councils would present the complaints and appeals they received from professionals.
Ms Mdlalose said that the entity worked with municipalities to help identify unemployed built environment graduates that could possibly be trained and monitored by professionals through the EPWP; thereafter align them with projects being done in different municipalities.
Political Input by the Deputy Minister
Ms Noxolo Kiviet, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, commended the entity’s executive on its continued stupendous calibre of work. She expressed pride in women that were consistently demonstrating excellence in their respective fields. The way the CBE executive was leading the entity was cause for hope and was exemplary to its fellow entities.
Deputy Minister Kiviet recounted that during her meeting with the CBE delegation the previous day, she implored them to pursue a structured integration of their endeavours with the CBEPs and other stakeholders. This was imperative in order for government to be able to measure the unified impact of the programmes funded by itself, through Departments and other government entities. This would also minimise duplication of tasks amongst the entities.
Deputy Minister Kiviet pointed out that a further analysis of the gender representation of registered professionals could reveal that the small proportion of female professionals could well be concentrated in one field within the built environment. She suggested that the entity should further breakdown the goal of establishing gender equity by targeting specific levels of female inclusivity amongst the different fields, during the candidacy stage.
The Chairperson thanked the CBE for its presentation. She re-emphasised the need to review and amend policies and regulations to better facilitate transformation through improved racial and gender equity within the built environment. She said that the Committee was looking forward to a joint meeting scheduled in two weeks with the CBE and CBEPs on implementing the pipeline for graduates to become professionally registered.
The meeting was adjourned.