South Africa at the Crossroads

by Terry Deacon, Managing Editor; Project Pro, Pretoria, South Africa,

Serial Information: Worldwide Projects, 1993, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Pg. 38-40

Document Type: Feature article


With the provisional decision to hold its first democratic elections in 1944, South Africa has reached the most crucial moment in its history, one on which its economic and social development will hinge. Once power is handed over to a representative government in the form of a Transitional Executive Council, the way will be open for billions of dollars in loans to be pumped into the country. Opportunities will abound for local and overseas consultants and contractors to participate in a massive drive to end the backlog in infrastructure, housing, education, health and industrial development. This will only come to pass, though, if the country's political leaders make the transition a smooth one. At present, the construction sector is suffering its worst downturn in 60 years, and 1993 could see a further decline of 10-20 percent, with 350-400 companies closing down. Several large projects have been given the go-ahead recently, however, including the Anglo-American mining company's Namakwa Sands project in Cape Province, a US$2.3 billion Alusaf aluminum smelter in Natal, and the US$1.1 billion Columbus stainless-steel joint venture in Transvaal. Many South African companies have formed alliances and joint ventures with overseas firms. With aid agencies soon to spend considerable sums in the country, South African consultants and contractors offer particular advantages to foreign partners, with their knowledge of local conditions, technical expertise, and low rates. Led by the African Business Development Group, South African firms are also busy marketing their project expertise to the rest of Africa.

Subject Headings: Project management | Joint ventures | Developing countries | Contracts and subcontracts | Consulting services | Stainless steel | Social factors | South Africa | Africa

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