Monday, July 22, 2024

Civil Engineers Urge Greater Transparency and Accountability in South Africa’s Infrastructure Revamp: Insights from SONA 2024


#Sona2024: Civil engineers call for more transparency

In the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2024 State of the Nation Address, the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) has issued a call for greater transparency and accountability in the nation’s efforts to revamp its infrastructure and stimulate economic recovery.

“Comprehensive timelines, defined roles, and accountability are crucial for the reconstruction of South Africa’s infrastructure and economy. We further advocate for an escalation in infrastructure investment, a reduction in underspending, and the improvement of procurement regulations to stimulate sustainable growth,” commented a leading representative from SAICE.

One notable emphasis of the Address was on job creation, particularly for the youth. The initiative was met with approval from SAICE, highlighting the urgent need for government intervention to address the all-time high unemployment rates.

“We applaud companies that are committed to fostering mentorship and creating opportunities for young professionals,” she added, indicating the positive steps some entities are taking towards integrating unemployed youth into the workforce.

SAICE also lauded the government’s dedication to fighting corruption, pressing for procurement processes to be conducted with integrity and free from political interferences to ensure transparent and effective use of resources.

“We cannot overstate the importance of decisive measures to enhance state capability and reduce the potential for procurement corruption. Maintaining the status quo risks further obstacles to infrastructure development and the attraction of essential local skills and funding necessary for progress,” stated Andrew Clothier, SAICE’s president for 2024.

Clothier further stressed the need for the government to deliver on its promises, particularly concerning the revamp of South Africa’s freight rail system and maritime infrastructure, as well as the exploration of alternative finance models like Build Operate Transfer projects for infrastructure development.

In addition, the ongoing energy crisis remains a critical issue, with SAICE acknowledging government efforts but stressing the need for clear mandates and expert involvement in the restructuring of notable entities like Eskom.

“It is encouraging to note that the growth of the renewable energy programme and the adoption of greener technologies are being taken more seriously,” Clothier remarked, highlighting a positive direction in the nation’s energy sector.

However, SAICE also points out areas requiring immediate attention, such as the professionalisation of the state, the introduction of skilled professionals to oversee projects, and a focused effort on improving transport infrastructure to facilitate economic growth.

Regarding service delivery, the institution emphasized the critical importance of water supply and infrastructure maintenance for public health and economic stability, urging proactive measures to address these challenges.

“We welcome the establishment of the Climate Change Response Fund given the devastation we have seen across our provinces. However, we continue to urge the government to ensure the effective implementation of the proposed solutions outlined in the SONA,” concluded SAICE.

As South Africa navigates through these challenges and opportunities, SAICE affirmed its commitment to working collaboratively with all stakeholders, aiming to drive positive change and secure a prosperous future for all South Africans.

Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett is a seasoned business journalist with over a decade of experience covering the global economy, finance, and corporate strategies. With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Business Journalism from Columbia University, Alexandra has built a reputation for her insightful analysis and ability to break down complex economic trends into understandable narratives. Prior to joining our team, she worked for major financial publications in New York and London. Alexandra specializes in mergers and acquisitions, market trends, and economic

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