Building a Sustainable Future: GIC’s Influence and Role in Job Creation throughout South Africa
Amidst relentless lockdown fatigue, a glimmer of hope has emerged in the infrastructure development and construction industry – and GIC is leading the charge. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing a slowdown in activity and leading to widespread setbacks across the sector, GIC has risen to the challenge and is determined to be part of the solution. As the industry finally begins to shake off the hardships of the lockdown and forge ahead, we’re helping to resolve pressing issues through our pioneering approach. Our goal for this year is to take on more ambitious development projects that transform lives and contribute to the sustainable development of South Africa’s infrastructure, while also playing a crucial role in job creation. Looking ahead to the possibilities that 2023 holds, we are eager to seize new opportunities, innovate, and make a meaningful contribution to the industry.
Present Challenges Confronting the Landscape of the Infrastructure Development Industry
According to recent estimates, the construction industry in South Africa shrunk by about a quarter over three years, decreasing from almost R140 billion in 2019 to R105 billion in 2022. During this period, the sector has faced a barrage of challenges that have tested its resilience, including a market constantly in flux, unpredictable input costs, and widespread shortages of available materials and skilled employees. Despite these difficulties, industry expert and CEO of Gap Infrastructure Corporation, Roelof van den Berg, is hopeful about the road ahead and believes that there will be immense growth opportunities in 2023, but that this growth will depend on three factors:
- An increase in how much the government spends: In 2020, the South African government announced it would invest over R2,3 trillion into infrastructure projects over the next ten years, creating an estimated 1,88 million job opportunities for the country. Unfortunately, crucial funds were diverted from the sector to aid in COVID-19 relief initiatives. Many projects were put on hold, but as of 2022 were again prioritised and set to commence in 2023. This means that this is an impactful year for infrastructure development in terms of providing job creation and economic stimulus.
- Tackling supply chain issues: Lockdowns during the pandemic caused production slowdowns in crucial materials, affecting the construction industry. The market for construction materials has also been volatile due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and disruptions in global trade, resulting in higher costs and sourcing difficulties. Another issue is higher fuel prices that have made transportation of materials more expensive. Thankfully, the construction material industry is slowly bouncing back, and supply chain disruptions are decreasing.
- Addressing the shortage of skilled workers: Skilled and educated workers have left the country or switched industries over the last three years, leading to a significant skill drain. Fortunately, we anticipate their return with government capital injection and resolutions to some of the major industry challenges. It’s essential to place the right people in key positions to ensure that infrastructure projects receive the expert attention they need.
Pioneering the Drive for Crucial Job Creation in South Africa
Our vision at Gap Infrastructure Corporation is to build strong, sustainable infrastructure for South African communities in need of empowerment. By doing so, we set people up for success, and they are able to improve their lives in various ways. Since well-serviced communities have a higher employment rate, we understand the ripple effects of our key projects. We also actively support local expenditure when taking on development projects, sourcing materials and labour from surrounding areas whenever possible. We believe in promoting inclusion, dignity, equity, and diversity in all aspects of our work. When it comes to our valued team, we facilitate growth opportunities for our employees by promoting from within and providing ongoing training and development to help them reach their full potential. By investing in our people, we are better equipped to provide exceptional service to our clients and communities, ultimately changing lives for years to come. This is our legacy.
From low-cost housing and community development to large-scale infrastructure projects, GIC pledges its efforts to a future rooted in sustainable growth. This means we will continue to take seriously the importance of creating jobs and remaining dedicated to providing training and mentorship opportunities to address the skilled worker shortage. We are also actively working to address supply chain issues and create lasting solutions that will benefit the industry as a whole, pioneering a way forward for the sector’s growth. To learn more, contact us today.