Gauteng Business News

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CONSTRUCTION: Nurcha Working to Increase Access to Construction Employment


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An estimated 70 000 workers have been involved in the construction of the country’s 2010 World Cup stadia – the vast majority of which were part-time contractors who it’s feared now face an uncertain future with little hope of repeat contracts. But new opportunities do exist, so much so that all these workers could well find themselves busy for the next three years with projects that not only provide an income but more importantly, long-term employment.

This is according to Morgan Pillay, MD of development financier, Nurcha, which provides funding and support for first-time and emerging construction contractors and developers. “There are many new opportunities that will become available in the future, one of which is the post-World Cup maintenance of stadia. We’ll have world-class facilities but they will need to be maintained if they’re going to generate an income and target international sporting, business and entertainment events. This upkeep will necessitate the employment of several teams of contractors,” Pillay explains.

With President Jacob Zuma announcing government’s planned R846-billion spend on public infrastructure over the next three years, Pillay says there’s scope to employ the former 2010 stadia workers.

“At this stage we don’t know exactly where that money will be going – water, sanitation, public works etc. – but the fact that it’s all in infrastructure development means it has an absorptive capacity, to take up labour in all its forms,” he says.

Other opportunities include working on the country’s new energy and power construction programme, which Pillay says would require initial construction as well as ongoing maintenance for up to 50 years, as well as traditional development projects at provincial and local government level, such as the construction of community facilities, including clinics, schools and libraries.

“That’s not to mention the ever increasing need for housing, including affordable and subsidy housing, which still present massive opportunities for contractors across the country. I think a big focus in this area, particularly subsidy housing, is going to be who can deliver quality products using the same materials and within the same budget parameters. This provides an opportunity for efficient contractors who deliver quality to have a more competitive edge within this now growing skills pool,” Pillay adds.

These above two business opportunities, along with infrastructure, make up the three areas Nurcha will be encouraging contractors to consider for future work, as each presents opportunities in line with Nurcha’s objective of promoting sustainable, long-term employment. Nurcha is making a concerted effort to ensure it reaches these contractors and informs them of the opportunities available.

“We have a database of all the contractors we’ve worked with over the past 10 years. We communicate with them on a regular basis, but will be intensifying these efforts this year. Our aim is to ensure they have work on a regular basis – we don’t want to interfere with the adjudicating or awarding of tenders, but we do want to position these contractors to take advantage of these opportunities,” Pillay explains.

Likewise, Nurcha’s looking to work more closely with government to inform it of the contractors available, who have good track records and who could assist in implementing projects. “We’d like to offer up these contractors to be considered by government in a programmatic way, to get projects done,” he adds.

Nurcha has built a solid relationship with these contractors over the last decade through its unique approach to development and support, which includes assisting emerging contractors every step of the way, from pre-tender stage with letters of support, to project management and ultimately, project handover.

As the only development financier servicing this market, it’s currently in negotiation with commercial financial institutions to work together to fund more emerging contractors looking for work post-2010.

“We have limitations on our capital – we can’t fund everybody. There’s scope for commercial institutions to work with us, to use our skills to manage the risk associated with these contractors, and join us in funding certain projects. If one takes all this into consideration, there are certainly enough opportunities to go around and assist construction contractors once the fanfare of the World Cup is over,”
Pillay concludes.

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