Monday, February 25, 2013

Cape Town’s Very Own Evel Knievel

Anybody who has ever been to Cape Town is likely to be familiar with its famous flyover bridge that stops in the middle of nowhere. Work on the flyover commenced in the 1980’s and for some or other reason came to grinding halt never to be completed.

Many years ago when I was scholar attending Sea Point Boys High there was a story going around that somebody had accidently ridden a motorcycle over its edge and miraculously survived. I had put it down to urban myth until some years later; I encountered the person who actually did it.

In 1989, in the days of compulsory National Service, I was posted to Ysterplaat Air Force Base five minutes away from the Cape Town CBD. There I met a rather grumpy old sergeant in the permanent force with enough steel in his jaw to raise hell with metal detectors.

Another permanent force member who served in my unit knew the story well and took tremendous pleasure in sharing it with whoever would listen.  It turns out that our intrepid motorcyclist had acquired his 1100cc that same morning and thought it was a good idea to meet some friends for drinks.

After a day of heavy drinking at the Kings Hotel (a famous Sea Point drinking hole in its day) he apparently struggled to get himself and his motorbike going. His friends, in doing what real friends do in these circumstances, held the bike steady for him and helped him on his way.

In those days, where the road forked leading to the drop, it hadn’t been barricaded as it would be today. Instead, they had placed a couple of white painted 80 gallon drums with no entry warning sign’s planted in them. It would have perhaps been impossible for a car to fit through however a motorcycle could do so with relative ease.

He apparently drove straight through the gap between two barrels and happily continued.

Needless to say, he woke up sometime later in hospital and as soon as he was fit enough to resume work, in a move of deliberate irony that one would expect of the military, he was placed in charge of the Airman’s bar to serve as reminder to young servicemen, not to drink and drive.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services


Friday, February 22, 2013

Two Exciting New Initiatives

The Association has two new initiatives planned for 2013 which we are extremely excited about.

We are currently in the process of establishing an Emerging Contractor Programme aimed at developing the skills and business acumen of builders operating at grass roots level. The purpose of the programme is to assist emerging contractors in overcoming the various challenges faced, when entering into our industry.

A new Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal satellite office will be open with effect from March 2013 in Northern Natal to serve the needs of our Members in Newcastle, Ladysmith and Vryheid. We have acquired office space in Vlam Crescent Newcastle where a newly appointed area manager will be based.

When both service units are operational an announcement will be published on      

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dr Annelie Gildenhuys to Address Members

Those of you who have already seen the invite to our Durban Member meeting will be aware that our guest speaker on the day is Dr Annelie Gildenhuys of SAFCEC. 

A little bit of background info ...

Dr. Gildenhuys in collaboration with NUM and the Building Construction and Allied Workers Union, was instrumental in establishing a national bargaining council for the Civils Industry.

Media reports inform us that construction sector co-ordinator for NUM, Isaac Ntshangase, is advocating that the council be used to persuade companies in the building sector to extend the same benefits to their employees. Dr Gildenhuys has kindly agreed to address our Members on what led to the establishment of a national bargaining council for Civils, and how she sees it impacting on the Building industry going forward.

I will also be doing a brief presentation outlining the Associations Strategic Objectives for 2013/2014 and our new colleague Leon Hailstone, will be discussing a new venture Master Builders Energy Saving and Energy Generation Solutions. 

All Members and Stakeholders are welcome to attend.

Click here to view invite.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager 


Friday, February 8, 2013

Lack of Common Sense Leads to Loss of Life

The Darwin Awards website, again informs us of a true life incident where lack of common sense resulted in the loss of life. The incident occurred at Amarillo Fairgrounds and involved local contractors who were hired to paint some buildings situated on the premises.

Between the buildings they were working on, there was an angled drainage culvert designed to drain rainwater away from the structures. Because of the slope, the wheeled painter scaffolding tended to roll downhill, so the painters removed the wheels to stabilise it. They were in the process of moving the scaffolding when the metal structure made contact with a transformer which resulted in death by electrocution.

As newsworthy as that incident in itself may seem, it was the events that followed that turned it into a headline story.

The town was abuzz with talk of the tragedy, how it had come to pass and whether the city was liable for damages. The city officials decided they needed to conduct an investigation.

With much fanfare, they arrived at the scene of the incident, prepared to personally recreate the circumstances. Two officials grabbed the scaffolding in the exact same location as the two painters, began to move the scaffolding... and suffered the same fate.


Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


Monday, February 4, 2013

Submit Your Private Construction Project

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal, Private Project’s web module enables the public to submit details of private construction projects online, for dissemination to Association Members. Once the upload process has been completed, the information is then viewed by members of Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal via a password protected section of our website. Interested contractors will then contact you either to quote or to request additional information.

A list of open projects is emailed to our members on a regular basis to ensure that they are kept up to date with the most recent submissions.

How it works:

Go to and follow the homepage link to ‘Private Projects’ or go directly to

Once you are there, follow these four simple steps:
  1. Register as a user
  2. Click on Login to submit a tender
  3. Complete the contact form and include a brief description of the project in the field provided.
  4. Upon completion make sure you click on the submit button.
You will receive an email notifying you that your private tender has been submitted.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager