AIIM leads investment in R1,9bn government office project

African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), through its IDEAS Managed Fund, has acquired a 32.5% stake in a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop new office accommodation for the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform.

“We are extremely proud to participate in this project, says Vuyo Ntoi, Joint Managing Director of AIIM.

“PPPs introduce the possibility of private funding for public infrastructure, which is highly relevant in the South African context, where public budgets are constrained, and the need for investment is significant.”

Vuyo Ntoi, Joint Managing Director of AIIM

The IDEAS Managed Fund is one of South Africa’s largest domestic infrastructure equity portfolios that invests in economic, social and renewable energy infrastructure in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

With consortium partners, WBHO, Bidvest, Vulindlela Holdings and the Tshala Bese Uyavuna Broad-Based Ownership Scheme, this R1,88 billion project will be operated on a 25-year concession.

The terms of the concession will see the Tshala Bese Uyavuna Proprietary Limited Consortium design, build, finance, operate and maintain the new serviced working environment. This facility will accommodate all of the department’s Tshwane-based employees in a single work environment.

Ntoi explains that the PPP agreement removes the financial burden from the fiscus because the capital expenditure will be funded upfront by the consortium during the construction period. “This partnership involves locking in a long-term collaboration between both parties to share the costs, rewards and risks of the project,” he says.

“In addition, the risk transfer aspect embedded in the contract will enforce specific performance from the consortium to ensure the project is delivered on time and within budget. This further limits the risk for the government.”

Other crucial aspects of the concession include a commitment to meeting employment equity and skills development targets. This will see black people, women, and youth involved in management positions within the project company’s executive and governing bodies.

Both the BBBEE and PPP codes of good practice were applied by the department to ensure equitable participation in the project.

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From idea to execution: How Continuous Improvement can transform your business

By Anna Chetty, Strategic Project Manager at RS Components South Africa

Richard Branson knows a thing or two about ideas. One of his favourite quotes is from Alfred North Whitehead, the ground-breaking philosopher and mathematician: “Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.”

We’ve all been there. A flash of inspiration hits: what a great idea! But we forget to write it down or, if we do record it, we get bogged down with other demands. Problems and barriers emerge. Instead of changing, things stay the same. In a company, this means stagnation.

Ideas are the remedy for stagnation. They could be small yet highly consequential. How well a company can support and implement those ideas to innovate is a good predictor of future success.

This is a challenge for many organisations. There are plenty of good ideas that aren’t implemented. Execution falls short, often because the organisation’s cultural support for ideation is lacking. It’s a common problem, but one that has finally found its solution in a revolutionary concept: continuous improvement (CI).

What can businesses do to create a CI culture and to deliver on their ideas? Let’s start by better understanding what CI is and why it is so important.

It’s about an ongoing focus and mindset

CI is an ongoing focus and mindset that drives improved products, services and processes. The objective of CI is to ensure operations are as efficient as possible by removing waste, reducing errors and finding opportunities to add value. A business can benefit from the fruits of CI: increased productivity, engaged employees, higher profits and innovation that will lead to happier customers. In CI, changes aren’t exclusively pursued when there are serious issues at hand. It enables a company to never stop striving for improvement.

The methodology is based on customer and employee feedback, as well as enabling employees to enact changes. This doesn’t mean every employee has to become technically skilled. But if an employee has an idea, is there a pipeline they can follow? Will their ideas be taken seriously? Do decision-makers have access to resources and levers to support such an idea?

It can be a gamechanger

It challenges the notion that change only happens through big projects and enables anyone in the organisation to participate. In CI, an idea can be pursued to its logical conclusion, spearheaded by the people who best understand those systems and processes. Someone loading a truck, for example, has a view of the processes and logistics involved. They are more likely to spot opportunities for improvement. A CI culture offers them that capability.

CI is not a quick fix

This isn’t achieved overnight. It is an ongoing effort that requires the support of the entire company, notably the leadership team. CI goals should be established and staff need to be trained to help deliver this change. If you create a culture of change and improvement, CI becomes embedded as a way of working.

CI isn’t a magic wand. Not all challenges require a CI project. Nor is it a system that you shoehorn employees into. CI empowers employees and recognises their efforts. It needs staff to be curious and engaged. But CI is also very flexible: even though it is an overpowering change agent, you can pace its rollout and adoption.

CI can create a positive work environment

A culture that invites ideas from all its people creates an engaged and passionate workforce, not to mention the immense goodwill generated with the customers you demonstrably listen to.

Do not shoot ideas down. Encourage your staff to speak up and bring their ideas to the table. Allow ideas to have a real chance of becoming something more. Continuous improvement isn’t a trendy fad. It’s the business culture of the future.

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