Posted: November 22, 2023
The Executive Mayor of Ethekwini, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda.
The Acting CEO of NRCS, Mr Duncan Metengwe.
World Bank Representative, Mr. Rakesh Beekum.
Adv. Toto Fiduli – Registrar of SACAP
University of Cape Town, Prof Townsend.
Mr. Loyin Rajkumar – NBCF.
OVVIO, Mr. Carel Olivier.
All Delegates representing various institutions.
Ladies and gentlemen.
Allow me to commend NCRS and its partners for this Annual Building Control Officers Convention, which is convened every year bringing together in one venue the built environment to discuss, reflect and advance sectoral issues that impede or fast tract the economy of the sector, as guided by the policy levers such as National Builders Regulations (NBR) and Builders Standards (BS).
The Convention for this year is held under theme: “Building Resilience in Changing Times”. The strategic relevance of this theme cannot be over-emphasized in light of the objective and subjective factors that are part of challenges in the current environment, for the built environment. Resilience will take this sector very far.
The biggest challenges we all face is the advent of the climate change and the adaptation that the sector must have. What kind of buildings we must now build in the era where natural disasters too unfamiliar to us, in the Southern Africa and the continent, as part of adaptation?
At least in other jurisdictions like South America, parts of the Caribbean’s and other regions in United States, where tornadoes hit communities frequently, they built their infrastructure and properties with materials such as timber and even the architectural forms conforming to their situations.
This province and parts of Eastern Cape were attacked by deadly floods last year. We saw the shifting sands that collapsed properties even in areas that we thought were solid like rocks. People died. Since those flash floods, the country is visited upon by strange powerful rains frequently, signalling a new era of climate change. As specialists convened here today, I hope a new approach in our built environment will emerge from you.
To us as the dtic responsible for driving re-industrialization of the country, construction sector is the most important one for this succeed. Of cause the sector has undergone turf times from the times towards 2010 World cup construction boom, down to a slowdown with some companies filing for liquidations; the biggest pause was the 2020 hard lockdown. The entire economy came to a stop and major projects stalled, with massive loss of money. We know that some of the construction projects which were on the pipeline were cancelled after lockdown.
But your resiliency has kept the sector through against these challenges. One of the biggest challenges sabotaging the sector is the construction mafias. Many of the construction companies are suffering as a result of this new sabotaging groups. The economy is suffering as a result. We are excited that the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure is leading a process of government, by which this problem will be resolved. I know that the feeling from the sector is that government is moving slow, but government has been assured by Minister Zikalala that this will be address in no time, from now.
As the dtic we commend NRCS in its role as an implementing agent for the National Building Regulation (NBR) and Building Standards (BS) Act. The NRCS acts on behalf of the the Minister of Trade Industry and Competition, for the creation and maintenance of National Building Regulations and to regulate the building industry.
We, as the dtic and the NRCS have a duty to legislate, regulate and exercise their executive powers in a manner that will assist with the effective execution of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, by the local authorities. We continue to expect the NRCS to assist dtic on the maintenance of the NBRs, and to provide technical advice and information of the NBR.
These tasks also include providing architectural forensic reports in respect of defects or other inaccuracies and/ or causes of building failures.
For us in the Department, these responsibilities are at the heart of building integrity to the system within the sector, so that our built environment remains world class in terms of standards and compliances.
We are looking forward to the fruitful deliberations, proposals and the outcomes of this convention. Provide us with solutions, and bring to us that which relates to policy challenges to unblock them.
I wish you a successful Convention, and thank you very much.