State to blame for crippling' black builders - Industrial Reporter
GOVERNMENT may be responsible for emerging black building companies collapsing because it is late with payments , and it is calling on building contractors who do not get paid on time to raise the issue.Deputy Minister of Public Works Muntuwenkosi Zondi said at the National African Federated Building Industry (Nafbi) indaba on Friday that black builders went out of business because they were not paid on time, not because they were poorly run operations.

Zondi said improved payment to contractors was a high priority for the state, with his department facilitating meetings with departments at national, provincial and local level to address the issue.The deputy minister said slow payments were a deep concern to the office of the presidency.

Zondi urged summit delegates to "complain" to his office if they do not get paid on time.He said government understood the other problems black building contractors were encountering.Government knew it was difficult for many contractors to come up with the 20% deposit required to perform government work.

Zondi said his department had set up a R20m fund from which builders could borrow money for deposits.The department was also committed to empowering women and had put aside R400m exclusively for women contractors.Zondi said his department wanted a summit for the industry to be held some time next year.

One of the issues would be drawing up an empowerment charter, he said.Nafbi secretary-general Aubrey Tshalata said Friday's meeting formed part of the preparations for the summit.KwaZulu-Natal had held a provincial summit, and Zondi expected other provinces to follow suit soon.

Nafbi is an affiliate of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce, and has nearly 4500 membersSep 29 2003 07:30:42:000AM Larry Claasen Business Day 1st Edition