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Showing posts from May, 2007

ECDC feels the pinch as contractors fall short

FAILING small building contractors are “biting” the Eastern Cape Development Corporation’s pocket – so much so that 60% of its construction industry loans had to be written off in the past financial year.
Speaking at the parastatal’s Integrated Emerging Contractor Development Model graduation ceremony, ECDC chief executive Mxolisi Matshamba warned that because of the high failure rate their loan requirements would become stricter in the future.
The development model, designed for the ECDC by the Centre for Science and Industrial Research, aims to mentor emerging contractors on financial and project management skills so they can attain “emerged” status.
“Every project that fails bites our pockets,” Matshamba said. “We have picked up that this is because of a lack of financial planning, tendering with incorrect prices or the fact that contractors deliberately underquote out of desperation to win.”
He said another reason for their failure was that, instead of executing their projects, some c…
THEY are rich and hungry for investment opportunities. Private investors, a common investment force in the US and Europe, are starting to come out of the shadows in SA and could play a major role in boosting economic growth and job creation if the right conditions are created. Dubbed business angels, private investors are best described as high net worth individuals with sufficient surplus resources to invest. Typically, angels are early-stage investors looking for entrepreneurial business ventures to invest in, usually in exchange for equity. The amounts involved can be anything from R100000 to R5m. Angel investors usually precede venture capitalists, who tend to invest in established businesses — making angel investors a potentially highly valuable resource in a developing economy such as SA. It is common knowledge that entrepreneurs the world over struggle to secure finance. The 2004 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, an international research project involving more than 40 co…

Report says SA gem is losing its glow

No business? South Africa may have to switch some of its policy focus, says Marlese von Broembsen, author of the GSB's Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.
If government is serious about creating jobs in South Africa, it must make some tough policy decisions and focus on those entrepreneurs identified as job creators.
This according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study - which measures entrepreneurial activity - conducted in South Africa by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCT's Graduate School of Business (GSB).
The numbers speak for themselves. The latest data shows that in the study's entrepreneurship rankings South Africa has dropped from 20th position (out of 34 countries) in 2004 to 25th position (out of 35 countries) in 2005. And the country's Total Early-stage Activity (TEA) was only 5.1% in 2005, down from 5.4% in 2004.
Significantly, South Africa also has the lowest entrepreneurial activity rate of all the developing countries pa…

South African Housing Gap Sparks Anger as Squatters Seize Homes

Bloomberg.com: Exclusive:

By Janice Kew
May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Sello Timothy Mbamba's dream of owning his own home came true -- and for more than a year he's been too afraid to move in.
Mbamba was one of more than 100 people who won government funding to build one-bedroom houses at Olievenhoutbosch, 19 miles northwest of Johannesburg. When the house was completed 18 months ago, people who were still living in shacks accused him of leapfrogging over them and threatened his family.
``I was worried I'd be killed in my sleep,'' said Mbamba, a 55-year-old unemployed builder. In response, his wife Josephina fled 185 miles north with their son and daughter. Today he lives in a hut patched together from scrap lumber and corrugated iron sheets 600 yards from the house he bought for 4,100 rand ($580).
The fight for scarce homes has triggered violence and intimidation across South Africa, where 12 million homeless black people are still struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid…

Cheaper solutions needed to housing backlog

By Anel Powell - Alternative building materials could alleviate many of the structural problems at the N2 Gateway development, says Richard Dyantyi, MEC for local government and housing.Speaking at the opening of a two-day conference on innovative building methods on Monday, Dyantyi said: "The conventional system of brick and mortar has proved to be costly and in relation to the rate at which the backlog is increasing, to no longer be a viable option." At a weekend public meeting, Dyantyi admitted to residents of the N2 Gateway development that work on some of the houses was sub-standard. He said work on the second phase would continue once the problems in the first phase had been solved.

Dyantyi said on Monday that the N2 Gateway could be one of the sites identified for a pilot project of alternative building methods.He said structural problems, such as those at the N2 Gateway, were caused by incompetent contractors and inferior building materials. Dyantyi said the governmen…

moladi solves key low-cost housing challenges

By Roux van Zyl Business Reporter
WHO would have guessed that houses could be exported from Nelson Mandela Bay?
Local entrepreneur Hennie Botes, designer and owner of Moladi, has been doing just this for the last two decades, of which five years were spent in Port Elizabeth.
Technically speaking he does not export a whole house, rather the means to build a house within one day.
The concept is based on casting technology. First a mould is built from plastic shutter panels in the form of the planned house and is then filled up with a light-weight mortar.
The mortar takes only one day to dry and is then ready to receive a roof and other finishes like window frames and plumbing.
Botes, a tool-maker by trade, started designing the system in 1986. While building a wall at his house he wondered if it might not be possible to cast a whole wall.
Botes developed a plastic injection moulded shutter system that was strong enough to handle the pressure of concrete.
“However, you can‘t live in concrete – i…

Gauteng competes for building material and skills

Gauteng competes for building material and skills
The Gauteng Provincial Department of Housing is considering setting up building material warehouses as an option to address concerns about the possible shortages of building material due to high demand linked to the building of stadia for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. (What a JOKE - there are no skilled artisans!!!!)
Competition for building material is gaining momentum in the building industry and small and medium developers contracted to deliver higher volumes of low-cost housing are concerned that the country may soon run out of building stock including cement, if government fails to intervene on time. This emerged during the Gauteng Housing Stakeholder Workshop convened this week in Nasrec, Johannesburg to present the Department's performance plan for the 2007/08 financial year.
Addressing delegates, Gauteng Housing MEC Ms Nomvula Mokonyane pointed out that both the Provincial and National departments of Housing are already investiga…

Iranian President Speech Highlights Need for Low-Cost Housing

Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinezhad has highlighted the need for low-cost housing. In a speech on 24 April 2007 before a joint meeting of provincial governors and provincial directors-general of housing, Ahmadinezhad also spoke of the need to create jobs of the country's baby boom generation. He said xxx. The following is the text of the speech, a recording of which was broadcast by Iranian TV on 27 April; subheadings inserted editorially:
Housing
In the name of God most compassionate, most merciful. [Koranic verse recited] I will submit some issues to you the most important of which is housing. Please note that housing, as a cultural phenomenon in our country is quite different from that of many of these western countries. Housing for us is not just a roof over our heads. In other words [it is not] a place where the owner comes to after doing a days work only to go back out again to resume his life. Housing for us is a place to live, to development, to have security, to be constr…

Shoddy builders in trouble - Power Construction

EAST LONDON - Against the backdrop of housing delivery protests, building contractors in the Eastern Cape who deliver sub-standard work may have met their match.The Housing and Local Government Department is determined to force such contractors to fix their shoddy work.Power Construction is already being forced to fix its workmanship at both Maclear and Ugie housing projects, department spokesman Mbulelo Linda said yesterday.Linda said Power Construction was given until July to rectify defects.Arcus Gibb, the consulting engineer for Power Construction, responsible for foundation design and supervision, is fixing defects at Ugie.The moves follow several site visits by departmental officials and Elundini Municipality after complaints relating to quality.In response to the complaints, the department compiled a report listing defects and recommendations.The department last week announced sub-standard work in housing projects would be investigated and the contractors forced to effect repai…