New deal for small builders

2013-05-21 00:00

EMERGING contractors in KwaZulu-Natal can take advantage of a new development programme aimed at helping them acquire a higher grading from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD).

Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay announced the contractor development programme at the KZN Legislature on Friday.

“We will do a three-year programme that will advance at least 500 in the first year and escalate to 1 000 thereafter, once our capacity is developed,” he said.

“Part of that programme is to compel the higher-level contractors to set aside a certain percentage of their work to level-one contractors that will be assisted and capacitated and have to prove that they actually have done the work.”

Pillay said the performance of the enlisted contractors would be monitored and the accreditation they obtain from the department’s programme could be used by the CIBD for grading purposes.

A notice would be advertised soon calling on level-one contractors to apply and be included on a special database.

The initiative was launched after the department found that more than 25 000 contractors in KZN still languish at level-one CIBD grading.

Pillay said the number of contractors in others grades was not impressive. The breakdown of other grades:

• Level two — 1 207

• Level three — 514

• Level four — 515

• Level five — 424

• Level six — 299

• Level seven — 111

• Level eight — 35

• Level nine — 96.

Pillay said the figures showed that the contractors had hardly moved from one level to the next.

“This is a disjuncture that is quite stark, that has to be dealt with,” he said. It was particularly a concern with those contractors on level one, Pillay added.

He blamed the lack of promotion on a lack of work for some firms.

Also, he said, some contractors were part-time contractors and others were shelf companies, such as those of civil servants who had stopped doing work with the government.

“We suspect many of them are state employees who registered construction companies thinking they may get jobs,” Pillay said.

KZN Master Builders’ Association executive director Vikashnee Harbhajan said she was unaware of the initiative.

Harbhajan said her institution had a similar programme about contractor development.

She said they would support the department’s exercise, which she described as a good initiative.

“If approached, we will assist and encourage our members to see the extent to which emerging contractors are accommodated.

“Our strategy is to ensure there is development of emerging contractors,” Harbhajan said.

• mayibongwe.maqhina

@witness.co.za

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