While some industries in South Africa’s beleaguered economy are recovering to pre-pandemic levels, the construction industry is amongst several industries that have not recuperated, with Statistics SA reporting that the industry has contracted further this year and is 24% smaller than it was before the pandemic.
Uncertainty in the industry, underpinned by little to no movement on government infrastructure and other projects, is expected to result in more players in the industry closing their doors, with the concomitant loss of jobs and skills.
Against this backdrop, national contractor GVK-Siya Zama’s Western Cape business reveals a stable business on track to record a favourable year with two large projects currently underway: the conversion of Cape Town station into a mixed-use retail and student accommodation development and the construction of Great Oaks, a luxury retirement village and lifestyle centre in Constantia.
GVK-Siya Zama Cape managing director, Chris Maughan, says both projects are on track for completion in November 2023. “To ensure we meet our 2023 delivery date for the conversion of R913 million Cape Town Station, we’ve had to plan the global resourcing of components carefully to accommodate supply chain disruptions.”
Located on the corners of Strand, Adderley and Old Marine Drive in Cape Town’s CBD, the 20-storey structure will incorporate more than 3,000 purpose-built student rooms, 6,700m2 of retail space and a public square when complete.
The Great Oaks development is a R326 million project for Constantia Life Developers and entails construction of a lifestyle centre, 53 luxury cottages and 30 high-end apartments.
In addition to these greenfields builds, the business is currently involved in two framework projects: one for the University of Stellenbosch Engineering faculty, and another with the Western Cape Education Department for the improvement of several schools in the province. This framework is focused on bringing school buildings up to standard for the comfort and safety of learners and educators.
Maughan says GVK-Siya Zama’s resilience and adaptability in challenging circumstances can largely be attributed to the diverse skills in the construction company’s team. “Many of our employees joined us when they were students and have progressed in the company, gaining invaluable experience and deep insight into the industry over the years.”
Another key contributor to the longevity of the business, which has been around since the 1960s, is its leadership team. Maughan himself grew up in the business and spent many a school holiday in the construction trenches. Following a stint in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, where he worked on restoration sites for a sister company, he returned to South Africa and GVK in Cape Town and has worked his way through the ranks from student to managing director.
Maughan and his team are focused on maintaining a stable business that can withstand the ebb and flow of a sometimes unpredictable and volatile industry.
Originally the springboard of the group’s national activities, today GVK-Siya Zama maintains its reputation as a key contractor in the Western Cape, having transformed from a predominantly painting and restoration outfit to a main contractor with the ability to tackle mega projects with values exceeding R1 billion.