With the Deputy Minister present, the Council for the Built Environment (CBE) and the six professional councils that fall under its umbrella discussed the challenges they experience and noted concerns. The number of previously disadvantaged individuals registered as professionals in the CBE six professional councils was low, averaging 27%, while females averaged 11% representation.
The CBE delegates spoke about candidates not going all the way through the pipeline and managing to become registered. Currently registration is not mandatory and the department is not regulating this by making it mandatory. This would protect the public as registered parties could get insurance and it would increase the public’s perception of competence in the industry. A major difficulty was black candidates finding mentorship and employment in order to practise in the built environment industry which is a necessity for professional registration. The legislation intended to empower blacks in the industry is not having its intended results. The legislation was described as being anti transformational and not creating preferential economic empowerment, even though it was titled as preferential legislation. They suggested it was necessary to amend the laws to achieve the desired effect. Currently the industry is still geared in favour of white candidates, specifically in the private sector. In the public sector, there are SETAs that provide opportunities, but the stipends are often so low the candidates end up dropping out to find other work, thus not completing the road to registration.
Members asked if there were sufficient mentors for the candidates. The SETA grants must also be incentivized for those under mentorship. CBE was asked to work with the Department of Basic Education to prepare learners for future professions. They asked if the Transformation Indaba working groups have clear mandates, targets and timelines. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is the mother body to deal with these challenges and asked if they have statistics in terms of employment equity compliance. Public Works must lead by example. On proposals to amend legislation, they said often the problem is the enforcement of existing legislation. Members noted that the Committee's role is not to be advocates for people to get tenders. The objective is getting skills. There is a responsibility on the Department to attract registration. The Minister must advance amendment of policies that are anti transformational to achieve economic transformation.
The Chairperson stated that it has been a new government for 25 years and the Committee wanted to know what was happening about graduates becoming professionally registered so that they could raise noise if need be.
The SA Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP) Registrar, Ms Patience More, stated that the registration of professionals was a sore spot in the lives of many and that the industry has not transformed. There are still challenges. She gave the example of the professional interviews she had conducted over the past few days where there was only one African on her team and six whites. This might not necessarily be reflective, but it does give an idea of challenges within the industry.
Ms More said that there were so many concerns that impact on the industry, such as why there are so many unemployed graduates, and the challenges faced by graduates who are employed but whose registration as a professional is delayed. They need some level of intervention as an industry to change the landscape and see signs of transformation. She did not believe in slow transformation, either there is transformation or there is not. There is no such thing as slow transformation, and “we need progress".
Implementation of Skills Pipeline for Graduates to Become Professionally Registered: CBE briefing
Ms Priscilla Mdlalose, CEO of the CBE, noted the six CBE professional councils: Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession (SACLAP), South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), South African Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP), South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), and South African Council for Property Valuers (SACPVP.) The CEO noted there are other councils that should be part of the CBE. They have signed a memorandum of understanding with them.
A key part of the CBE mandate is the role it has to play in intervening when there are challenges and to influence education and training. Looking at other aspects of its mandate, the CEO said that in promoting the interests of the public, it is critical to promote registration, because if you are a registered person you can obtain professional indemnity insurance. Should anything happen to the client, as a registered person you can use the insurance. Also key, was to understand climate change and conserving our environment.
In the built environment, everyone is doing whatever they feel like doing and it is important to make them understand government priorities so that their project is aligned with these priorities. It is important that the professionals you use are registered to avoid hazards happening to projects.
There has been an improvement in the six councils. In the past, Ms Mdlalose admitted to challenges, but that they are working together to conduct themselves in a professional manner. They are looking into protocol so that they do not work in a chaotic manner. Going forward they hope to maintain that.
She emphasized the role of CBE as the regulator. When councils apply for accreditation of curriculum, CBE participates in those spaces. They should not treat UCT differently from the Walter Sisulu University, for example. There should be uniform application where universities are noted treated differently. This is part of their mandate as CBE.
CBE is interested in education and training. This is an area of their mandate. They develop and influence the skills pipeline and key is the quality of tracking what is happening in the space. Liaison is important and their skills pipeline strategy serves as a forum to discuss relevant issues.
At the Transformation Indaba they discussed the critical issue of legislation impacting the built environment. They must promote research on built environment and ensure the research is talking to the challenges in the built environment. They talk about transformation and look at whether the numbers are changing. Their core job is to register professionals. There are challenges that cause them not to have the numbers required by the industry.
Their mandate is also to develop and uphold the conduct of professionals.
They publish guidelines for professional fees. Here they are in discussion with the Competition Commission. The Competition Commission feels this is colluding if they publish this as the professional should decide on the charge for professional service. However, CBE believes this is random and if they do not publish guidelines then anyone can charge anything so they need guidelines.
Another role of CBE is to regulate the industry by identification of work. If not, there will be duplication and it will be difficult to hold people accountable. It is a difficult issue and they are discussing with Competition Commission. Professionals need to be associated with professional councils or there will not be order in the built environment sector. This also helps their professionals to be recognized internationally.
The demographics have improved but if you unpack the numbers and the challenges facing professionals perhaps there should be better numbers as there are gaps in the industry that the numbers do not reflect.
Ms Mdlalose said that if you go to the doctor you have confidence as a patient because they are registered. Likewise with the built environment, a client needs to have this confidence so it is important to register the professional as this equals competence. It also protects them as a registered professional has insurance.
If professionals are registered, it makes them more competitive, for example, if you are a registered quantity surveyor in South Africa, you can compete anywhere such as USA and Australia, so we want registration.
It also provides of opportunity for recourse, so if the conduct of professional is not acceptable and the client is aggrieved, they can appeal to the CBE. These are all advantages of registering professionals.
There are trends in the industry with some candidates staying in that unregistered status forever. There is hope but they need to push them through so they become registered candidates. They are moving in the right direction but they need to be taken to professional status.
Whites are still dominating the industry. In candidacy statistics you can see Africans are increasing – they must be pushed to registration.
To change the numbers there are areas where they need to intervene. The skills pipeline talking to this strategy has three phases. They need a partnership with Department of Basic Education, because science and maths must be good enough and learners must be exposed to the built environment.
Further, the interviews given to prospective students are not relevant to the environment from where students are coming so they must liaise with Department of Basic Education to target rural areas. Partnership is necessary because CBE and the councils cannot do it alone, so they must partner with education to undertake those programs.
Another problem is that students graduate and then remain unemployed and the different challenges must be addressed separately and not clubbed together.
In terms of the push and pull strategy, graduates are leaving the public sector to work in the private sector. It seems the public sector is grooming professionals for the private sector, and they need registered professionals in the public sector.
How it works is, once you get your qualification certificate, you need to go through the steps before being registrable. These steps are critical. Areas where they need to intervene as Council include, getting employment in the appropriate field. They have not done a study yet about why some graduates are unemployed. These are issues they need to discuss and find a way to help. Candidates need to be employed to be registrable and an employer has to allocate a mentor. They need to learn from somebody to understand the language of the industry.
To register with council they must comply with workplace training. Sometimes there are candidates in the public sector and the candidate needs to submit logbooks, attend professional interviews, if they pass, the Council gives them status of being a registered person.
Not all councils get funding from the SETA. SETA funding is supposed to support all the councils, this is also an area we need to discuss today.
A major challenge to graduates is unemployment. People need to practice somewhere. Some state owned enterprises (SOEs) and other government agencies employ but they do not say you need to be registered, so people do not register. Further, the SETA stipend is sometimes not enough, so private sector takes them away from those programmes.
A problem in the industry is inadequate employer support, stipend salaries are too low, and then some candidates drop out of the programme. For candidates to be supported they need to be employed. They must have projects to employ them. African service providers and small business do not have enough projects so they cannot sustain their own business let alone give work to candidates. Unbalanced tendering is a problem and this is resulting in anti transformation. There is competition for a small piece of cake in the public sector. Most of the white businesses get jobs from the private sector and they compete on public sector jobs as well. So they also gain in the public sector and so there is an imbalance.
The legislation is not giving the advantage to African small business and they have to share this space with those who have been privileged previously.
Proposed interventions include implementation of programmes and monitoring of policies. “We need a political voice to assist us so we can review the policies". They also need to look at the private sector and not only the public sector.
The professional councils were then asked what their mandate is and the challenges they are experiencing.
SA Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP)
Mr Ntsindiso Nduki, SACAP President, was accompanied by Mr Toto Fiduli, SACAP Registrar. Mr Nduki said that their mandate is to give guidelines on what architects should be charging. They also register architectural professionals to uphold high standards of architecture so architects provide high quality services. They protect the public as the professionals sign a code of conduct. Every registered person is subject to this.
Challenges to the profession is that work is slow due to the procurement policy changing. Government established a roster system to fairly distribute work to architects. In 2008 the procurement policy changed and they had to tender for fee work. Since then companies are feeling the heat, both whites and black firms. In 2018 the results of a benchmark survey show a bleak picture and the future is not so good for the profession. Most professionals are forced to tender lower fees and discount up to 70%, fighting to keep their offices open. We have seen emerging black firms shrinking, such as Design Space Africa in Cape Town. They were employing about 50 black professionals. It is a reality that white firms attract white graduates and black firms attract black graduates. Tendering puts everything out to market and it puts everyone at the same level. The market must decide is what is happening. This goes against government policy while on the other hand government is championing transformation, so this policy is opposite and is anti transformational.
With such policies they will never achieve transformation. “The imbalances are getting deeper and deeper – there is no future for black children in this country unfortunately". The private sector accounts for 70% of the work. 30% is government so 70% is benefitting white firms. That 30% from government is thrown out to tender and everyone must compete. Black firms do not have resources, they cannot compete. They were only given access to these degrees and these jobs after democracy. In the private sector, people get work and they get their full fee. In public sector they have to tender. Access is limited and it is only for those who have resources. White firms are also affected. For architectural firms it is not nice to see only few firms getting all the work, only a few employ 200 staff. Others employ two to three staff members. Big firms can spread their footprint beyond South African and small black firms cannot get their foot in the door. Tendering for fees really needs to be reviewed. He recommended that they look at the roster system again so the work can be spread fairly.
There are so many cases of corruption in the tendering system. Out of that 30% they getting stats to see what goes to the black firms.
We have the BBBEE codes that have been structured to affirm black businesses. But it is not doing its job. Whoever authored that code has discouraged transformation as you do get white firms getting Level 1 BEE. This happens because they claim points for developing small black firms. They have the resources. So what is the point of that transformation if you need money to get a good level of BEE. This is another issue to deal with. Those codes need to be reviewed.
The codes award 90 for functionality and 10 for BBEE. If the intention is to transform why is BEE only weighted 10%. That’s the problem. It frustrates transformation. Only projects lower than R45 million use 80/20 scoring. Projects bigger than R45 million, they use 90/10. Those BBEEE codes are not working in favour of black emerging firms.
The main problem is that black firms cannot train and employ new graduates. These new graduates cannot set up their own firm – how are they going to tender if they do not have a computer, a plotter, the software licence which alone costs so much each year. Finishing the degree costs money. It takes 18 months of employment to be exposed to all competencies and if you not have that exposure, you cannot register. Therefore they are also struggling to register professionals.
The other challenge is women struggling in the country as there are only about 70 qualified black female architects and most of them are working for Public Works. This degree is expensive and their parents emptied their pockets to get them qualified. If they manage to register, they cannot establish firms as they cannot afford to tender. If 30 tender, you only need one to do the job. It costs money to tender, what is happening is you are taking money from poor people who want to start their firm but only one firm gets the job. The situation they find ourselves in this profession is not easy. If this is not dealt with there will be no architects. They leaving the country and going to New Zealand. A few Chinese architects are coming into the country as well and there will be no black architects left. This is a dying profession for black children. They have asked for an intervention. They have a lot to offer and they still have to build this country. Architecture must prevail. Look at Dubai. It has the tallest building in the world. South Africa would not achieve that because of the difficulty in the industry. The proposal by SACAP is to influence those policies. They were never part of the policies that are impacting negatively on the profession. If architecture dies, then infrastructure dies, then this country is dead. He ended by saying, “You do not ask the doctor for a discount".
Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)
Mr Christopher Tsatsawane Executive: Strategic Services, ECSA, said that it is the responsibility of ECSA to get engineering in line with international standards. Public safety is important. Part of their mandate is to ensure that registered persons are taken through the latest trends of engineering standards. The challenges faced by ECSA include that they do not do well in ensuring that their candidates progress to professional status. They have black candidates but the challenge is to take them to professional status. The survey shows a lot of previously disadvantaged students register for engineering but drop out before graduating.
There is a slow growth in female engineers who register. A lot of engineering categories still need work to be identified. They need implementation of strategies to get the numbers up. ECSA shares with people in rural areas about the steps to follow as candidates or professionals to move along the road to registration. They are very robust in this, therefore their statistics for the number of candidates is good.
ECSA is not as accessible as they would like to be. Their offices are in Joburg and a person needs to come there to put through the paperwork. They opened four satellite offices two years ago: Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, East London.
As long as students are not taking maths and science at school, ECSA cannot meet its targets. Therefore, they have a programme to inculcate a culture of maths and science and career guidance so that learners can understand the subjects they need in order to follow a particular career.
He requested that the Committee support them in making registration with ECSA become mandatory. If not, the infrastructure in South Africa will be built and designed by people who are not registered. At the moment it is not mandatory; it is voluntary. He asked that the Committee advocate that all who work for the public sector are registered. It should be mandatory for those working for government that they are registered.
SA Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP)
Mr Newton Baloyi, SACQSP council member, said that challenges in the quantity surveyor sector include key competences such as pricing. They establish budgets for buildings and ensure things are done in budget. Basic problems experienced is that within the 30% of government work, people cannot finish in the price they tendered. But they still get the job. The procurement process is no mechanism to stop this from happening. A competent person will price properly. But someone will come in with below market price. This creates a sense that government does not value professionals. In the industry you also get a situation where professionals are reporting to someone who they have to teach what they are talking about to, before that person can respond to them.
SMMEs that tender do not have anyone assisting them with pricing. They look at the last tender and play around that number and submit. This is not being regulated and this system is not adding value, its destroying value.
He personally did private work for 15 years and he did not win any tender. You have to build relationships, you have to prove yourself, you have to do the work. He tried to get into the public sector, for every 20 tenders, you might get one. “I never get one. I’m a black person and I cannot do business with government. We cannot do it at the prices that work is being done for at the moment".
In the private sector, the number of blacks are minimal. Candidates need access to markets.
He explained that when they do projects in the mining sector, to build a mine, they spend a billion a year, they build mega projects, but the community where they building do not participate in the projects. The large firms get these projects and they are white. “They get the 30%, then they get black companies from outside to participate but the local companies do not". One should decentralize so that work can only be awarded to people in a defined space and if you cannot find the right people, only then do you move to outside that space. There must be a link between sustainable development and projects must benefit the local community. In the mining sector, instead of budgeting for engaging with communities, they budget R60 million for strikes. Strikes are a big issue.
South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession (SACLAP)
Ms Cecelia Chinga, SACLAP Registrar, agreed with the points made by her colleagues and went on to highlight challenges in her sector. Their biggest challenge was that government does not recognize the landscape profession, despite it being regulated by legislation. For example, there is no requirement by most municipalities to approve plans signed off by professional landscape professionals. Architects sign off the plans, this is a very watered-down area by government.
There are no landscape architecture posts in all tiers of government including municipalities. There are a lot of landscape architectural professionals in the private sector because the private sector recognizes them but those mostly go to big white landscaping professional practices. There are no opportunities in the public sector and very few landscape professionals in all tiers of government so the question is, who is advising on landscaping work. What happens around the government buildings? What about conservation of the environment? At the moment we have drought and nobody cares about the way we manage the environment. There is no opportunity for water to seep into the ground. It goes back into the sky for rain. Nobody is monitoring this and there are no posts for landscape architecture in national department. This results in poor registration statistics for SACLAP. Graduates do not see the benefit of registration. In terms of black candidates, the private sector has huge companies doing landscape architecture. Black graduates straight out of university have no opportunity to be mentored because most companies do not support them.
On higher education accreditation, the prospectus does not tell students about the second phase selection test. In matric they apply to do this field of study, then they get hit with a selection test which favours a certain portion of the population. Those not aware of certain information do not pass through the filter. The admission test is very eurocentric. For example they are asked to identify buildings such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and St Peter’s Cathedral. “How many of our children know that?” She asked if that is a correct test for the kids to have to enter into a programme. The university is now closing the programme because they do not receive enough applicants. They say the programme is not economically viable. Upon investigation she discovered that they received over 2000 applications, but after filters, they would only consider 23 people as passing the filter. So the university is filtering out people who do not know St Peter’s Cathedral. Access to the profession is going to be marginalized and white candidates will go overseas to qualify, come back and register with them. What about black children?
In order to be a candidate you need to be mentored and you need employment. We want black graduates to be professionals. They are at a dead end because of the lack of support for candidates. Some practices say we can take the candidates but cannot pay them a salary. She asked why the SETA cannot pay them so they can continue with their candidacy. "Our council did not receive SETA funding this year. We made another application and I am hoping that SETA will consider us. Money is being given to those with money and those without money, take care of yourself".
The funding model of the professional council means they have only just over a million to run programmes and they cannot make it on only one million – that is asking for too much. They submitted a sustainability plan and if the Department is serious about the profession then they need to give them more funding. Currently they were given less than 1% of what they asked for. Their salaries are low but they are committed to transformation and to fulfilling their mandate, because they believe their work is of national importance.
Ms More gave some background on the roster system. Post 1994 the Department of Public Works engaged Price Waterhouse Coopers on a water system and a recommendation was made to bring on an organization of black architects and engineers. They entered into a tripartite relationship on the roster system. Black consultants were told they would have priority and believed it would be in their favour. Their members went and put together companies. When it came to implementation, there were setbacks. For example the forms were unexpected as they wanted to know if you had previous experience in company development, if you were training black people and if these companies were new. So those training black companies had an advantage. What happened was the already established companies were at the top of the list and the blacks at the bottom. Some companies never even got work. They did not know how the system was going to operate; 100% BEE still did not get them work. Another system was proposed. That did not work. We said we are no longer going to have this monitoring task team but will open a transformation office. Then BBBEE came out in 2008. The roster system was there but did not go far because of how it was implemented.
At the CBE Transformation Indaba in February 2019, we looked at policies and Treasury came to present. We are looking at the implementation of the policy, women empowerment, and there were four commissions, all facilitated by people in the industry. We created working groups or task teams from these commissions and we are still discussing these matters such as the roster system. The CBE has looked at these proposals and wants to take them forward with the working groups.
Mr M Nxumalo (IFP) asked if higher learning institutions, that accredit the students, interact with students and rope them to understand the role of registration with the council. They might go into a career and further down the line discover that they need to be registered to go further, only to realize they did not go through the registration process as they did not realize they would need it. In such a case, registration has to be reignited late in their careers. This topic must be canvassed and cleared up while they are still students.
On the steps for a graduate to reach professional status, they must also get clarity on the fees. The candidates fall off the ladder between graduating and getting professional status because they cannot afford the fees. The stipend they get from in service training does not pay them enough. As employers must allocate a mentor, he asked if there were sufficient mentors for the candidates. Do we have a budget for candidates, do we have enough resources for the number of candidates there are, and do we have clear programmes? All these workshops come up in one week and students must pay for them. He asked if the Department is subsidizing these students to enable them to achieve professional status. Otherwise, if they cannot afford it then you have a system blocking people and they will be mere candidates forever and ever.
He asked if the Department has made a deliberate attempt to identify candidates with potential, as the built sector is currently being monopolized by a small sector of society and this must not be the case. The idea is that all candidates must achieve professional status.
Ms A Siwisa, (EFF) said that it was her wish that the Department’s objectives are met. Maths and science were important. However, there will still be a gap. She used to teach maths and science and the maths and science "in the location" is not the maths and science you get in private schools. For this reason, there is still going to be a problem. The poorer standard of the subject is going to disadvantage black kids from getting into this industry. Honestly, maths literacy is not helping our kids in schools and if the Department of Basic Education is not doing anything about this, then it will be a problem. Your foundation must be solid. If you struggled with numeracy at a lower level then you are going to struggle with pure maths at a higher level.
She said that landscaping is a rare profession. She only heard about it watching a movie two years ago. What about the younger generation? Not enough is being done to open up landscaping as a profession. Something had to be done to assist this small sector of the industry to grow. Perhaps this meant that they had to look into Department programme and give the assistance needed.
Mr M Tshwaku (EFF) heard the comments about policies hindering black people, and that most black firms are gone. They have been closed, due to lack of work for black people. They had to look at a systematic amending of these laws as there was a fundamental ideological problem. He is a chemical engineer who worked for 12 years at Sasol where you do not have to be registered. Unless you are a boilermaker, you do not have to be registered.
In the private sector, there is no need to register. “The private sector do not care". Our black government will recognized black talent, but yet they disappeared within the system because of government. There are many black engineers, some of them committed suicide, as this industry is very harsh. The push and pull strategies mentioned will not solve the problem. There are many skilled black people. “Do a survey and check where they are”. The problem is once you have your own company red tape keeps black people out. It’s been 25 years. We study; we get skills. A problem is the mentoring system. The private sector refuses to allocate mentors and this is a real problem. How can you train people who are going to be your competitor. The private sector is white owned. It's white. When we analyse this. We are poor because we are black. It does not matter if you have a PhD or Masters they treat you the same. The allocation of mentors is not there. Get into the problem. Race politics is there whether you like it or not. It's racism". This was a problem with many black professionals and he again suggested that they do an investigation to see what happens to those black professionals who graduate, to find out where they are. Examine for example if this person is in Sasol and if they are giving him the necessary skills he needs. The Department must track these people. This way they will see who is employed and who is not employed. "The tendering system we know is corrupt".
He said that he managed to get professional indemnity from Santam without being registered, and he practiced for 12 years, thus the private sector does not require registration.
He asked what their timeline is for the skills pipeline. He asked for a breakdown of how many candidates are coming from university and technikon. How many engineers are unemployed. They should do a study.
On Ms Chinga’s complaint about SACLAP underfunding, he asked why she was given so much less than she asked for. They need a feedback session about changing the PPPFA. If this was blocking transformation then it had to be looked at and Parliament had to intervene where it can.
Ms M Hicklin (DA) said that her son is a doctor, and that he had to register with HPCSA. Therefore no matter what branch of the built environment you study, you must become registered with the appropriate council. It must be part and parcel of the curriculum for candidates to either get registered or do not graduate.
If there was no benefit to being registered then they had to make it beneficial. If you make the benefits associated with registration attractive enough then people will want to register. Fees for registration must be reasonable and there must be good benefits, this will then encourage more people to register.
She addressed the council for quantity surveyors and said that often people enter into joint ventures. There is a need for mentorship in the building industry with joint ventures based on upskilling people not based on people tendering for a job. They are not regulating the upskillling in a manner that is appropriate and responsible and they have to encourage this.
Ms N Tolashe (ANC) said that the Department must make the proposed solutions part of its strategic plan so that the Committee does not hear the same problems next time. They must look at where there are gaps in their strategic plan. She said that it was not always the policy that is the problem, but how the policy is interpreted. She agreed that candidates must be traced. The Department should look at how many architects qualified and what are their challenges now and be able to speak to them. She spoke in her mother tongue.
On SETA funding, she thinks that it is better to engage the Department of Higher Education and Training. The Committee looks forward to see Public Works strategic plan. She spoke in her mother tongue.
On work being given to big or small companies in the tender process, there should be a question asking “Are you doing business with the private sector?” It was like fiscal dumping, to give people a job but not know what they do. They need to be clear on who the people are who need to be empowered. She asked how they set up interviews? Which council receive the most complaints? One cannot get awarded the job once and another gets the job five or six times. There needs to be normality. There is also need for a grant. She spoke in her mother tongue.
On the mentoring system, she suggested they look at agriculture for a model that they might be able to follow. She spoke in her mother tongue.
Ms S Van Schalkwyk (ANC) said that the CBE mentioned that they must partner with the Department of Basic Education, and she asked if they have something in place or if they are still planning this. If they are still planning, they should pick up that process please. They should look in terms of outcomes based education or programmes in place in schools to prepare kids for future professions. The concerns about maths and science must be settled at that forum.
She noted that at the Transformation Indaba, working groups had been established. She asked if the working groups have clear mandates, targets and timelines. She advised that they partner with DPSA because the DPSA organogram shows that they not making provision for certain professions such as landscapers.
The Public Works Department is the mother body to deal with these challenges and asked if they have statistics in terms of where the department currently is in terms of employment equity compliance. Public Works must lead by example so that others follow suit. They must be the example in terms of the candidates they employ.
On amendment of legislation, in some instances there is lack of legislation, but in other instances it is a problem of enforcement and monitoring the enforcement of the legislation. She was sure that these problems will be remedied, including what is happening in government and in SOEs.
Mr T Mashele (ANC) said that they must change the arrangement where society comes to the Committee to lament and move to a point where they empower. The Committee’s role is not to be advocates for people to get tenders. Helping people to get tenders is against what the ANC mandated us to do.
Each time the Department meets with the Committee they raise the challenge of skills. It seems that the Department does not have the skill to combine water and cement. In this particular space our primary interest is that the Department assists the country to build the necessary skills to build our country. The issue of getting tenders might be an enabler for getting skills because if there are no tenders then people are not able to practice. However, the objective is getting skills and not getting tenders. If CBE is saying that if we do not get onto playing field we will not get into practice – then that addressed getting skills not tenders.
If the PPPFA does not assist the transformation agenda, we need a multidimensional approach. What are both of us doing to raise awareness?” Candidates must become professionals. And you must be regulated to be a professional. He noted that the delegation said that the industry is not transformed yet there is only one white man in the delegation. This indicated that the problem was wrong implementation.
The Committee will join the choir and cry with them. There is a responsibility on the Department to attract registration. People are not registering because they do not need to. It does not give them certificates the market wants. They understand some people cannot afford registration fees and if this is not corrected then the Department will not be effective.
Ms Shabalala (ANC) said that the bulk of the budget for construction in this country lies with the Department. They need to start transformation as the budget has been set aside for transformation. They are trying to advance amendment of policies that affect transformation. It is up to the Minister to follow up on this. The Committee can play an oversight role to the DG and Ministry. The ball is in their court. If Public Works will not do it then who will? It is sad that 25 years down the line this is still being said. In 1994 the majority obtained the freedom to vote but still awaits economic freedom. Economic transformation is the first objective and it has to be at the core of what is done. It has to be achieved and they will follow up on challenges raised here. Very few architects are black and government is not subsidizing them; they must.
She noted that you cannot be a teacher if you are not registered. So it did not make sense that in this industry registration is not mandatory. If it were, it would be easier to enforce laws against white companies. There must be clear policies. The SETA grants must also be incentivized for those under mentorship. As stated, the industry is white but the delegates today are mainly black. This raises concerns about mentorship, economic transformation via job creation, registration, and tracking. They must interact with the Department of Higher Education to raise these issues.
Mr Molatelo Mohwasa, DPWI Acting Deputy Director General: Inter-Governmental Coordination, replied that they must begin engagement with the professional councils. Currently they have a quarterly review meeting. The DG had met with four public entities about this challenge. They do not want SACAP to fail and they are busy with plans for the next five years, engaging with public entities. The Deputy Minister is engaged with the Competition Commission. They shared with them the reasons why they rejected their policy but they did not give them a full report as to why they rejected applications for the Identification of Work (IDOW) and Professional Fee Guidelines. The Department does not fully agree with the Competition Commission and they are engaging on this. They will provide the Committee with a report on this. The professional councils are supposed to be self sustainable. There will be a motivation about funding and the Department must consult with Treasury. They are avoiding just throwing money at an organization. On making amendments to legislation, he said they need to look at what is anti transformational.
Deputy Minister Noxolo Kiviet responded that legislation had been promulgated setting up these bodies. The intent of the CBE and its councils was to regulate the built environment and to transform it which is a most important objective. The working group teams are to raise transformation issues and they will go back to their organizations that do not follow through on this mandate to transform the skills environment. The sector first protects the professionals in their space and advocate for their interests. However, they have to carry through their mandate to transform. The challenge is if each organization is inward looking and protecting their own turf.
A transformation agent must champion transformation. One cannot just be inward looking. Yes, while it is necessary to self evaluate and assess the organization itself, the organization must look beyond their own spaces and go out and find spaces for themselves. She has not heard the different councils say that they met up with each other and said, for example, this is how much I can raise. The Deputy Minister said that without such information, for the Department to just throw money at them, would not be leadership. The councils must be able to motivate. The CBE is their mother body and it has been allocated funds, and these councils collect fees from their members. How much is collected? From a leadership perspective she would say to them, “put your books here".
She had meetings with the CBE and said that they must look at themselves and say, “where are the gaps?” They must look for loopholes, weaknesses and relook how the organization must be structured. The structure and the mandate is going to change, yet despite all the problems they want to stay as they are.
On procurement, she replied that if 30% is going to the black sector, how do you measure that 30%. There is a need for a mechanism to ensure that the procurement process meets its requirement. The Department has told Treasury that although the policy is good, the policy is not being implemented well.
The Deputy Minister said that they must review the PPPFA procurement policy, and there must be a method to monitor the policy until they can do something to change it. The policy in its current shape is a tender for all. It is called preferential but there is nothing preferential about it. The body of it must be changed. It must empower those who were never empowered. This must be done and there is no two ways about it.
The Chairperson remarked that some of the policies are not bad but they have to be implemented. He requested detailed written responses to assist the Committee in moving forward with these issues.
The meeting was adjourned.
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