Change management challenges facing Transnet National Ports Authority in implementing the New Engineering Contract (NEC) form.
The South African democratic order has been characterized by a number of legislative changes, which are aimed at transforming organisations. Among the laws that have been enacted is the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Act (2000) which was to standardise procurement routes for all state entities. This Act, like any other law, required organisations to train their employees on how to effect the changes. Codes of good practice were provided to guide organisations on the new processes to be followed. However, there seems to be a problem in some organisations regarding changing to these new procurement processes. The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is one of those organisations which seem to be experiencing this problem. The CIDB Act gives an option to State Owned Enterprises to choose from any of the four forms of contract that are provided. TNPA opted for the New Engineering Contract as their form of procurement contract. This contract form has, however, not been successfully implemented in this organisation. This is the situation that gave rise to this study, to establish the real reasons behind the delayed or seemingly resisted use of the said form of contract, which was wilfully chosen by the organisation. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 400 potential users of the NEC at TNPA. A total of 200 questionnaires were returned and this constituted the sample size of this study. The main finding of this study was that employees had not been adequately trained in using this tool. Quite a high number of employees were not even aware that there was a new procurement tool. The issue of lack of mentoring also featured strongly in this study. Lack of communication was also strongly articulated with an indication that it was not so much resistance but lack of knowledge that made employees not to use the NEC. The key recommendation is that top management should develop a strategy to promote NEC usage across the TNPA. This strategy should be propelled by adequate communication systems as well as training and development. Further research avenues have also been outlined.