Skills transfer, mega project management, prosperity, growth in the Electrical Construction Industry would happen if ECA(SA) members were to establish commercially useful establishments via partnerships and genuine value adding Joint Ventures. This is the view of ECA(SA) President, Mark Mfikoe, speaking at the organisation’s annual press breakfast on Thursday 15 March 2012.
The Electrical Contractors’ Association South Africa, ECA(SA), has over 3 000 members, and represents almost 60% of all employers in the Industry who are registered with the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry of South Africa. Members range in size from those with only one or two employees to the larger businesses which have several hundred. Members’ employ some 75% of all employees registered with the Bargaining Council.
The Association also protects the interests of members, and keeps them informed about all matters affecting the Industry through regular general meetings and general communication. The services include free advice and assistance on any issue concerning members’ businesses; assisting in obtaining outstanding payments from difficult clients; providing a complete labour relations advisory service, which includes representing members at the Bargaining Council and at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA); and extensive contractual, technical and business advice. It also has a guarantee of works scheme whereby members’ customers are covered against defective workmanship for up to R15 000.
Many challenges face the electrical industry today, not the least of which is the state of the training and apprenticeship programmes for emerging contractors. Says Mfikoe, “In my view the biggest scandal of this country is the compromising of our capacity to develop scarce skills for this Industry and others as a result of the shocking manner in which our mandated training authorities continue to fail the country. All of us had hope when the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) were introduced.” The Energy Seta was placed under administration and the electrical contracting industry was then transferred to the Construction Seta and in no time at all it too was placed under administration and still is. Education and training is a way to create a better life for all and raise the country’s ability to respond to skill challenges. The SETA process is negligent and has compromised the training of youngsters as well. The Construction Seta has failed to renew the training accreditation licence of the ECA(SA) Training Centres in Germiston and Cape Town, and the one in Durban had to close down when the country is dying to have qualified Electricians. The millions of Rands that have been raised by the Skills Development Levy are going to waste.
The ECA(SA) is committed to the upliftment of the electrical industry and to this end welcomes the potential introduction of punitive measures for dishonest disclosures with regards to BBBEE procedures. Says Mfikoe, “We have both black and white dominated electrical contractors as our members. As the ECA(SA) we see a huge potential to get our members commercially established.” The ECA(SA) are appreciative of President Zuma’s highlighting infrastructure development as a priority, and believe they can make a value contribution.
In November 2012, the ECA(SA) will launch the Presidential Excellence Awards to recognise those electrical contractors providing excellence to the industry. “When every single electrical contracting concern strives for excellence this can only raise our standards of operation to match the best in the world. It will increase confidence in our product and public confidence in what we do. Our emotional connection with this industry informs us that we need to make it appreciated more by the community of end-users which is everybody in this country and the world” said Mark Mfikoe.
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