The global economy has been thrown into turmoil as the world struggles to combat the spread of COVID-19 with several countries in lockdown or isolation. South Africa has responded very decisively and in an exemplary fashion, implementing a total lockdown which is a critical measure to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country. This is commendable, however, the economy been particularly hard hit by the double blow of the lockdown and the Moodys and Fitch downgrades.
In recognition of the challenges facing the Built environment and Construction industries, and acknowledging the role this industry can play in the support of efforts to combat the pandemic, a COVID -19 Construction Rapid Response Task Team has been established with participation from key industry bodies to look at the recovery of the industry post the lockdown.
This is unprecedented and has placed the country in a very challenging position, requiring sacrifice by the population and businesses to comply with the lockdown, but at the same time requiring definitive action by the government to implement structural economic reforms and address poor economic growth whilst dealing with the pandemic. New partnerships will be required to navigate through these turbulent times.
The Task Team aims to collectively unblock relief measures for the industry to remain sustainable and to help the industry navigate its way through these ‘uncharted territories.’ The Task Team is being formed at a time of current industry challenges against the backdrop of an already ailing construction industry calls for serious interventions by all stakeholders in the industry.
“We have realized that that the current situation requires a collective approach hence we would like to urgently engage all our key stakeholders particularly government and the private sector investment in infrastructure development,” said Matthews.
Below are some of the key issues we would like to deal with immediately:
- · Identifying opportunities where the construction and built environment can assist in the national disaster and relief efforts both on a volunteer and professional basis.
- · Interpretation of Regulations during lockdown and the absence of clear reference to the construction industry.
- · Exploring of relief measures specific to the sector.
- · Supporting emergency procurement for the next 12 months.
- · Discuss interventions for the recovery of the industry.
- · As part of the recovery, engage Government on the commitment to pay service providers within 30 days.
- · Partner with Government to ensure effective and integrated rollout of infrastructure projects.
- · Partner with private sectors in infrastructure development, etc.
Construction COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team primary aim is to assess the impact of COVID-19 lockdown, its risks to construction sector sustainability and to ensure that there are available collective plans to help the industry to recover. It is made up of various industry formations collectively acting in the interest of construction and infrastructure development in South Africa. The Task Team is made up of the following institutions: Master Builders South Africa, Association of South African Quantity Surveyors, Western Cape Property Development Forum, Black Business Council in the Built Environment, South African Institute of Architects, Cox Yeats Attorneys and Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal (Convenor).