Western Cape construction still contributes to economy

Cape Town - The Western Cape's construction industry seems to have escaped the effects of South Africa's downturn, with construction activities continuing to boost the local economy, according to John Matthews, immediate past president of the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC).

At the organisation’s recent annual general meeting, Matthews unpacked the state of the Western Cape construction industry.

“The latest residential property reports show that the Cape’s prices continue to escalate and there is no sign of a slowdown. We also continue to see high levels of activity in and around the Cape Town CBD, the V&A waterfront as well as the Atlantic seaboard and even further afield in the northern suburbs. These activities indicate the level of confidence that investors still have in the future of our city,” he said.
“For how long this will continue with the current political turmoil as the backdrop, only time will tell. The credit downgrade will certainly cause foreign investors to think twice due to increased risk and this will affect our ability to create jobs which are so badly needed to maintain economic and political stability.”

He noted that the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town have alleviated this plight to some extent by continuing to award significant numbers of projects in the areas of health, education and housing.

“We are fortunate to have these two spheres of government which operate in a relatively efficient manner and also abide by the principles of good corporate governance, thus making a significant contribution to our local construction industry,” said Matthews.

He also highlighted some of the changes taking place in the industry that could have positive outcomes. These included the publication of the draft Prompt Payment Regulations for public comment and the amended framework for the measurement of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in the construction sector being submitted to Cabinet.
John Slingsby, who was appointed as the MBAWC’s new president at the event, said he believes in a bright future for SA.

"We, as the building sector, play a crucial role in laying the strong foundation on which to build a promising future. We have endured testing times before and we will use the same dedication to excellence that has brought us to where we are today to overcome the obstacles that we currently face,” said Slingsby.

This year’s AGM was the 116th in the MBAWC's 126th year of existence.

"Our longevity is a testament to the industry’s ability to withstand and rise above challenges and I have no doubt that we will continue to survive and thrive despite our present predicament,” concluded Allen Bodill, MBAWC executive director.

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