In essence, transformation indicates change; however, transformation may hold different meanings for various role-players involved in the built environment. In line with its mandate the CBE must, by definition, be the initiator and facilitator of just this sort of top-level "conversation" around transforming the built environment and provide leadership on transformation within the built environment professions. Transformational change can occur in various aspects including structure, culture, products or services, diversity (race, age, gender, and backgrounds) or simply doing things differently.
South Africa's Built Environment is arguably one of the sectors within the country that is most in need of transformation. Following the completion of a Baseline Study and Situational analysis, the CBE constituted a Transformation Steering Committee in order to gain active participation from high-level role players in the built environment, to provide guidance on strategic transformation issues and to create a platform where joint knowledge can be shared and cooperation can be fostered.
CBE’s PARTICIPATORY approach towards achieving HOLISTIC transformation, hinges on:
- Focus on the entire SKILLS PIPELINE
- Streamlining the process – with a specific focus on key “areas” in need of redress/-structure
- Ensuring continuous supply of quality and aptly skilled individuals
- Cooperation between key role players
The SKILLS PIPELINE aims to significantly increase in the number of registered professionals within the shortest amount of time.
TRANSFORMATION COLLABORATIVE COMMITTEES
Transformation of the Built Environment Professions is one of the key mandates of the CBE. As per the CBE 2020/2021 – 2024/2025 Strategic Plan, the CBE is to facilitate participation by the Built Environment Professions in integrated development in the context of national goals, specifically regarding Transformation as a key priority of the sixth term government. The CBE’s third Transformation Indaba, hosted in October 2019, produced a number of key resolutions, in relation to challenges impeding Transformation in the sector. The CBE expects to deliver on these resolutions to ensure transformational progress. The main vehicle for driving these activities is the Transformation Collaborative Committees (Committees) (TransComs), constituted in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) to specifically address these challenges. These TransComs, with support from the DPWI, are commissioned to engage with all relevant departments and industry role players to resolve key challenges identified by stakeholders. The pervasion of COVID-19 means it is no longer business as usual for the industry; hence, the TransComs have to take cognisance of the structures that have emerged as a result.
2. TRANSFORMATION COLLABORATIVE COMMITTEES
2.1 Procurement Policy and Legislation Collaborative Committee
The Committee meeting was held on the 29 May 2020 to adopt and finalize its Terms of Reference (ToR). However, the draft Public Procurement Bill 2020, issued in the Government Gazette for comment on 19 February 2020 required its immediate attention. The Public Procurement Bill intends to provide a single regulatory framework for public procurement, specifically aimed to address transformation and the fragmentation of public procurement regulation. The Committee agreed to prioritize commenting on the bill, already identified as a deliverable.
Additional comments were received at the feedback Committee meeting held on 17 June 2020 which were in line with comments already obtained on thematic areas of concern and, amongst others, included the following sections of the Bill:
• Chapter 1: the emphasizing of value of money over transformation including new definitions required in terms of substantive quality
• Chapter 2: the establishment of a procurement regulator, its independence and the proposal for an independent audit, monitoring and evaluation of the achievement of the bill objectives
• Chapter 3: procurement integrity and concerns on some of the clauses such as section 22.1 (e) regarding debarment of non-compliant bidders and the matter of who should inform the regulator.
• Chapter 4: professionals should not be procured in the same way as goods, services and infrastructure
Other general comments were on the origins of the bill in terms of its authors; consideration of lessons learnt from the preceding bill and its set of regulations (Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act – PPPFA); and the assurance by National Treasury that all comments would be accommodated before final submission to Parliament. Important to note is that the CBE requested inputs from Industry through the Committee and CBEP. The South African Black Technical and Allied Careers Organisation (SABTACO), Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) – Border Kei Region were part of those consulted. A separate engagement with the National Treasury on issues raised by the Committee was held on 25 June 2020. All comments received have been consolidated and submitted to National Treasury (NT) and the DPWI.
2.2 Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Collaborative Committee
The Committee held its meeting on 2 June 2020 focusing on its Terms of Reference (ToR). Other deliberations were on:
1. the impact of COVID-19 on women in the Built Environment
2. status quo of women in the Built Environment
3. engaging the DPWI on a programme of action
4. feasibility study on the DPWI’s Women Empowerment Council
5. a practice register for women Built Environment Professionals
6. the establishment of a monitoring tool to track budgets & expenditure, including women empowerment programmes
Progress thus far:
It was agreed that more research was required to source data on the status quo of women in the Built Environment, specifically considering those professionally registered, graduates, level of women representation in big companies, contractors, material suppliers and their positions thereof. The Committee requested the CBE collect data in relation to all women empowerment programmes undertaken in the sector in order to establish a clear database. The CBE issued the survey on women’s professional practices in the Built Environment towards creating a database of women-owned professional practices – and utilise this to mobilise and strengthen advocacy programmes for women in the Built Environment.
The CBE met with the DPWI Gender Unit on 19 June 2020 to discuss the related outcomes of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Committee. The meeting agreed to:
i. collaborate on the women empowerment agenda through their respective mandates
ii. merge efforts/platforms where necessary
iii. share progress on areas of mutual interest i.e. monitoring tools, plan of action for gender based violence etc.
The Committee has requested a meeting with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) as the custodian of women empowerment to help drive this agenda.
Key future priorities for this Committee will include, but not be limited to:
1. Review successes and limitations of the DPWI Women Empowerment Council as a vehicle for addressing gender equality as well as the lessons learned in terms of this approach
2. Implement alternative preferential procurement “women-owned” Professional Service Providers which may include rosters and “set-asides”
3. Engage with the Department of Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities on the status of the National Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality
4. Engage with the Department of Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities on the status of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) Bill
5. Prioritise and implement gender budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing – ensuring a link with APPs
6. Ensure that Annual Performance Plans targets are gender sensitive and responsive
7. Invite the Commission for Gender Equality to work with the DPWI to align national departments and structures to collaborate on gender issues
8. CBE to prioritise finalising the required research to understand the status and profile of women and gender in the Built Environment, as per their mandate
9. Assess the current policy gaps on women empowerment and gender equality
10. Prioritise and monitor the implementation of DPWI / Government programmes intended to address concerns, and provide recommendations for improvement and implementation
11. Ensure that women from both professional groups and contractors are represented
2.3 Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) Collaborative Committee
The Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) Committee met on 4 June 2020 to adopt its Terms of Reference. The CBE’s engagement with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) was noted, including that municipalities were not part of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).
Key priorities for this Committee will include but not be limited to:
1. Monitor, evaluate and review the OSD for coherence and consistency application in all spheres of Government
2. Lobby and advise on the standardisation of salaries of registered persons to address existing disparities
3. Advice on career advancement and upward mobility
4. Advise relevant parties on linking performance monitoring to professional registration requirements
5. Advise relevant parties to reconsider the definition of professional requirement regarding “experience”
6. Advise relevant parties to permanently appoint candidates to address the salary disparities
7. Rephrase reference to “Engineering and related qualifications” to ensure inclusion of other Built Environment (BE) academic qualifications and financial inequalities
8. Review and assess the policy framework on (OSD). This includes the identification of challenges affecting the implementation of OSD and how such affect the Built Environment Sector
9. Propose reforms to the OSD to ensure the inclusion of other professions not considered during the initial development of the OSD
10. Engage/ lobby relevant stakeholders and role players
2.4 Skills Pipeline Collaborative Committee
The Committee will focus on skills development initiatives and challenges within the Built Environment Sector of South Africa. Key priorities for this Committee will include but not be limited to:
1. Assess the relevance and impact of programmes intended to address the skills gap in the sector
2. Consider proposals for the acceleration of skills development programmes, including the feasibility of establishing a single Built Environment Skills Fund
3. Provide recommendations on how best to establish a national skills plan that leads to artisanship as a career choice
4. Provide recommendations on developing future prerequisite skills considering the demands and requirements of future society and the Fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the associated social distancing measures and restrictions imposed it has been decided that both the Transformation Indaba can no longer continue in its current form. Therefore, the Transformation Collaborative Committees are seen as the central pillar of driving the Indaba outcomes and consolidating of issues from the industry. The progress of the TransComs towards their goals and deliverables will be shared regularly on all available stakeholder communication platforms.