Addressing the late and non-payment by government

November 7th, 2019, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT, Featured: PositionIT

A recent survey by the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) shows that the majority of quantity surveyors experience late- or non-payment of contractors on national, provincial and municipal projects. ASAQS president, Christelle Bown, presented the survey findings during a panel discussion at the 2019 Master Builders Annual Congress in September 2019 in Johannesburg.

Over 140 ASAQS members participated in the survey, with the majority of respondents saying they experience late and non-payment on government projects. The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, recently said that her department had paid R106-million in outstanding invoices. While this is a step in the right direction, Bown says it is still only a drop in the ocean of the R6-billion of government debt, that needs to be paid to contractors and professionals in the built environment.

ASAQS president Christelle Bown

The survey also highlighted that the Eastern Cape and Gauteng were the provinces where their members experience the most payment-related problems from government entities.

According to Brown, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is not responsible for the entire R6-billion in outstanding payments. Finding the sources of all the outstanding debt and addressing it with the appropriate departments and implementing agents will require a collaborative approach from built environment stakeholders.

Another issue that was addressed during the panel discussion was how quantity surveyors should account for the community facilitation and safety measures that are needed to combat the ongoing violence and intimidation that has plagued many infrastructure projects in the country.

Brown said there is a provision for a Community Liaison Officer in the bill of quantities for government projects. A possible solution could be the addition of a Social and Community Facilitator consulting role, which would be an additional cost to the client but could potentially minimise the cost of delays and damages from the construction mafia and other illegal activities on project sites.

On 1 August 2019, the ASAQS and MBSA signed a memorandum of understanding to work more closely together to address challenges in the local construction sector. The recently held congress cemented this sentiment, with members of the ASAQS and the MBSA committing to working more closely together in future.

Collaborative engagements create a platform that allows the diverse and multi-faceted issues that the industry faces to be addressed from a position of commonality, Brown said. She concluded by encouraging ASAQS members to participate in upcoming surveys and she compelled other built environment professionals to do the same.

Contact ASAQS, info@asaqs.co.za

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