MONEYWEB - INDUSTRY / 27 AUGUST 2021 - 00.01 / ROY COKAYNE
Depending on which construction industry body you speak to, the Voluntary Rebuilding Programme (VRP) is either “dead” or “alive and kicking”.
The future of the VRP was thrust into the spotlight when it emerged last month that construction industry stakeholders, including cement producer PPC and Master Builders South Africa (MBSA), were engaging with the Department of Trade and Industry and Competition (dtic) about the development of a construction industry master plan.
The government subsequently published a National Infrastructure Plan 2050 (NIP 2050) this month for public comment. Some of its aims and objectives are similar to those of the VRP.
The VRP settlement agreement between the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) and the SA Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) in October 2016 resulted in seven JSE-listed companies agreeing to collectively contribute R1.25 billion over 12 years to the Tirisano Fund for socio-economic development and to undertake further transformation initiatives.
The agreement also settled the exposure of these companies to potential claims for damages from identified public entities that arose primarily from the Competition Commission’s fast-track settlement process.
This followed a number of companies entering into consent agreements with the commission in 2013 after admitting to collusion and bid-rigging in contravention of the Competition Act.
The SA National Road Agency (Sanral) withdrew civil damages claims valued at between R600 million and R760 million it had instituted against several companies when the VRP settlement agreement was signed.
‘Dead’ … or not
MBSA executive director Roy Mnisi said as far as the MBSA is concerned, the VRP “is dead”.
“The agreement was signed in 2016 and most of the companies that were signatories to that agreement have fallen into business rescue and some of them have closed down,” he said.
However, Safcec CEO Webster Mfebe said: “It is total nonsense that the VRP is dead. The VRP is alive and kicking.”
Mike Wylie, a former chair and CEO of JSE-listed WBHO and now chair of the Tirisano Fund, also stressed that the VRP is not “dead” and is “a fantastic initiative”. .........
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER