The effectiveness of contractor development programme in KwaZuluNatal.
Hadebe, Weziwe Nokukhanya.
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The construction industry in South Africa is a major contributor towards the economic growth. According to the IDC (2016), the construction industry has contributed 9% towards the gross domestic products in 2008, with this figure increasing to 12% towards the gross in 2016. This latest contribution comes from 12 500 construction projects, with majority being government led projects. The government is implementing and awarding tenders in its construction led project through the Contractor Development Programme. The Contractor Development programme was designed specifically to develop previously disadvantaged and marginalised contractors. Despite the increase in the number of government led construction projects, a survey conducted in 2011 indicates that contractors remain dissatisfied with the programme operations. Moreover, during the parliamentary briefing in 2015, it was indicated that more has to be done to support contractors to grow within the programme. In KwaZulu Natal alone, the programme is having 6900 contractors between grades 1 to 3, with majority of these on grade one. It was therefore assumed that while contractor development programmes are important to assist participating contractors to achieve overall improved performance, growth and development, the open access to such programmes by all interested parties is counter-productive resulting in these goals not being achieved. This research therefore aimed at examining if the backlog due to openness of registration on the contractor development programme is in actual fact hindering the development of contractors. The aim was to establish if registration on the contractor development is too open and whether participants are satisfied with growth and developmental aspects of the programme. The study sampled 364 participants who participated in the study .The detailed narrative data was also gathered from six participants who participated in the focus group interviews. The overall research design employed in the investigation of the research problem was triangulated or mixed methods. Based on the inferential, descriptive and thematic analysis conducted, it could be revealed that registration on the contractor development programme is easy and too open to allow access to any contractor, including those without the necessary experience and interest. Contractors indicated overall high satisfaction with system registration. This is indicative of system openness and easiness. The openness increased competition and resulted into the behaviour of opportunistic contractors. The openness resulted in competing for resources such as tenders and training, and it ultimately led to low level of satisfaction with growth and development amongst the contractors. Participants in both data gathering methods indicated limited training, growth and development in the contractor development programme. It was found that being part of the programme does not necessarily translate into increased development. Moreover, poor communication in the programme was indicated to be a major concern for contractors.