Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) is encouraged by the acknowledgement that the National Development Plan (NDP) is a roadmap for tackling the problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
“We are satisfied that the NDP will be used to determine a way forward for South Africa. This has been long overdue. We are also pleased with the establishment of a national Green Fund as well as an aggressive stance on the need to crack down on tender fraud and corruption such as waging a just war on corruption,” avers CESA President Naren Bhojaram.
He stresses that the infrastructure development programme has been slow to materialise and a strong need to focus on accelerating implementation was paramount.
However, the State of the Nation Address failed to acknowledge the extent of the lack of capacity in the State to ensure delivery. Stronger reference should have been made on the role of business as a partner to ensure effective implementation, engaging business in pursuit of solutions is not enough.
It is a step in the right direction that the government concedes that infrastructure development programme has been a valuable source of learning and in the year ahead, it will fast-track many of the projects that the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee has announced. The lessons are that the State must coordinate, integrate and focus on implementation.
“Payment of small medium micro enterprises within 30 days was a positive statement that CESA welcomes, but this commitment should be extended to the business sector as whole and not just small companies,” says Bhojaram.
Stating that education was an essential service- which is something of a necessity, was confusing as the President did not use the term ‘designate’ and even more confusing was the statement that teachers will still have the right to strike. CESA is off the view that the President should designate teaching as an essential service whilst acknowledging that teachers have a right to lobby and engage with their employer in a manner which is appropriate to the teaching profession.
The approach used by teachers in lobbying their employer is in itself teaching by example that striking and “throwing ones toys out of the cot” is not the only way to engage.