Government willing to intervene in construction strike negotiations

By Edwin Tshivhidzo and Proffesor Ndawonde

Pretoria - Deputy Minister of Public Works, Hendrietta Bogane-Zulu, says government will intervene if the need arises in negotiations to end the strike in the construction industry.

"Should there be a need, we will intervene to find a solution," said the minister, speaking on Wednesday at the launch of National Construction Week in Pretoria.

Ms Bogane-Zulu said she hoped that there would be a breakthrough soon in negotiations between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the employer body represented by the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec),

Striking construction workers turned out in numbers on Wednesday at some of the 2010 World Cup stadia, including Moses Mabida Stadium in Durban and Soccer City in Johannesburg.

The union had rejected the 10.4 percent offer made by Safcec, saying that it would stick to its 13 percent wage increase demand.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Construction Industry Development Board, Ronnie Khoza, said he would be monitoring the situation and should there be a need, they would also intervene.

"For now we want the employer to deal with the situation," he said.

Local Organising Committee Chairperson, Dr Irvin Khoza, last week said that the strike would not affect the deadline to have the World Cup stadia completed six months ahead of the tournament.

All ten stadiums for the 2010 World Cup are anticipated to be completed in December this year and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was completed last month and ready for the world's biggest sporting event.

National Construction Week is celebrated in many industrialised countries in the world and in South Africa it is traditionally observed during the last week of July.

This year's theme is: Construction industry lays concrete foundations in the era of renewal" and is sub-themed "the role of the construction industry in economic growth, social development and human resources development.

According to the Minister, the campaign will allow the country to focus on construction and also engage in a process of attracting young people into the construction industry.

- BuaNews