Thabo Masombuka is the CEO of Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC). African Mining Brief had an interview with him on the wide spectrum of transformational and empowerment issues facing South Africa in general and the construction sector in particular.
What is your perspective on Transformation?
For understandable reasons, there is generally a temptation to confuse broad Transformation with Economic empowerment as such. From where l stand, Transformation is the umbrella term and concept to define the change from one situation and circumstances to another. Often from worst to better or better to excellent. Therefore, transformation refers to different levels of spheres in society, for instance:Political Transformation – This is the change of one political system to another. In our case as a country, a transition from apartheid to democratic governance.Economic Transformation – This is the change from a racial, fragmented, exclusive and gender concentrated economic system to a more broad, inclusive and adaptive economy that integrate the majority of poor citizens.Socio-Cultural Transformation – This is the behavioral change of society from one belief to another. This often involves cultural, gender and generational issues amongst persons of the same and/or different tribes, culture and age groups.
From the perspective in which l operate, it is the Economic Transformation that matters the most. Economic transformation, which borders on black economic empowerment, is the systematic recognition of the need to put in place measures, both institutional and sentimental, to facilitate the entrance of black people into the mainstream of the economy, as such addressing issues of poverty, unemployment and lack of skills.
This should be a deliberate racial programme seeking to redress past imbalances and focusing on racial lines while political transformation looks at the democratically elected government representing people from the national, provincial and local levels whether it is account, responsive, transparent or not. In addition, Socio-cultural talks to human relations for instance gender, age, language, disability including ethnicity. As a nation we need social cohesion in order to win the race. In terms of Economic Transformation we have only achieved approximately 30percent, Political Transformation 70 percent and approximately 20 percent in Socio-Cultural Transformation.
What needs to be done?
The country as a whole needs a comprehensive approach based on planning and re-skilling;this approach must be inter-linked between education, training and governance. For instance,if Economic Transformation does no talk to the Socio-Cultural issues it cannot be meaningful to a young black person for instance. Transformation will for instance always mean different things to different sectors of society; hence we need drastic changes especially in socio-cultural and economic transformation to achieve complete transformation whether it is in the work place, home etc.
In order for the objectives of transformation to be meaningfully achieved, a buy in or a will from both private and public sector needs to be obtained. Every stakeholder needs a sense of ownership of every transformation process a regulatory framework that has clear uncertainties since transformation is no about exchange ownership of the means production from the previously advantaged to the previously underprivileged.
Education should be our number one priority. We need a robust and aggressive approach when we it comes to education as this can help us speed up transformation. They should be a sense of urgency and what we say should be consistence with our actions, the government is no practical and consistence when it comes to education.
Success stories since 1994
We have a number of people who have benefited from transformation since 1994 and unfortunately we have not profiled them so that they serve as inspiration to others. The challenge is that most black beneficiariesof transformation disengage and live separately instead of ploughing back through capacitating, mobilization, encouragement, giving opportunities than handouts.
Construction Sector Charter Council’s Perspective
Our mandate is to empower and accelerate black women in the industry and have commissioned the baseline study into the status of BBBEE in the construction sector. This is required to assess the state of transformation and progress of the industry in implementing the gazetted sector code.
The stock will be done in June 2013 and we will be able tell how many black women have scaled the ladder in the construction industry