One of South Africa’s top digital infrastructure entrepreneurs, Rali Mampeule, has called for the country’s construction contractors to be formalised and their businesses to be accepted as legit commercial entities.
Mampeule, who is the Chairman of the Council of Patrons, an Advisory Structure of the Institute of Human Settlements in South Africa, was speaking at the recent Human Settlement Indaba in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
“As the private sector, we need to formalise businesses in the human settlements space. Some of us who may have worked with the government, maybe you are doing a tender you are sort of discouraged to even attend these types of conferences on the basis that you are always seen as someone who is trying to get a favour at the back.
“It is very important that as entrepreneurs, we must not be shy to come and actually partner with the government, to fundraise and get money. There is nothing wrong with you as an entrepreneur taking a picture with the head of the department or MEC because you are doing the right business. There is a word that we call ‘tenderpreneurs.’ We need to reverse that and bring formal business people into the sector,” he said.
Mampeule highlighted the importance of effective partnerships between the public and private sectors to address the challenges faced in the human settlement sector. He stressed that professionalizing the industry is essential for achieving sustainable and inclusive human settlements across South Africa.
He added that there were talks involving the private sector, Nelson Mandela University, and the Institute of Human Settlements on how to achieve a satisfactory level of professionalisation within the human settlements industry.
“You don’t look at me as Rali Mampeule and say he is a tenderpreneur, but you look at me as a real estate entrepreneur who can shake the hand of the MEC and actually deliver and raise billions of rands without being involved in corruption. We need to formalise our industry and make our entrepreneurs see an opportunity to do business without fear.
“I have seen a lot of projects where there is a bottleneck in terms of bulk infrastructure, and they have given an entrepreneur an opportunity to finish, but he is unable to finish because there are no formalities in negotiating to say ‘there is a delay here, how do we fundraise and get grants to unlock that development?’
“Then people end up in the newspaper, but if we formalise human settlements, we are able to negotiate and talk about these types of challenges,” said Mampeule.
The chairman proposed a framework that focuses on capacity building, skills development, and knowledge sharing within the human settlement industry, and further emphasised the need for rigorous training and education programmes to enhance the expertise of professionals working in the sector.
In concluding his speech, he also called for the establishment of regulatory bodies and standards to ensure quality, compliance and accountability in the industry.
Lastly, Mampeule advised government leaders to prioritise innovation and technology in the human settlement sector and highlighted the potential of digital solutions to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and improve service delivery in the industry.