Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) heeds the call of the President to observe social distancing by conducting its first virtual training on municipal infrastructure management to municipal officials.
In March 2020, the President, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the implementation of the national lockdown to help minimise the spread of COVID-19 which is spreading like wildfire all over the globe. The implementation of the national lockdown meant that government had to look into ways of ensuring that there is a continuation of service delivery while adhering to the regulations. Such regulations include observing social distancing, travel restrictions and avoiding crowds of more than 50 people.
In response to the COVID-19 regulations, MISA facilitated its first virtual training for municipal officials on Getting Acquainted with Estimating, Costing and Pricing of Contract for Construction Tenders, and the General Conditions of Contracts (GCC 2015), which took place on the 21st May 2020. Future training initiatives will include topics such as,contract management which will be provided to municipal officials to, amongst other things, handle “COVID-19 invoices” from service providers.
Speaking to Mr Sam Ngobeni, Acting Deputy Director-General responsible for MISA Technical Support Services branch, he said “MISA has an obligation to facilitate training for municipal officials so as to improve their skills for effective and efficient planning, delivery, operation and maintenance of municipal infrastructure. In the past, these trainings were conducted through physical venue based classes, which arrangement has been impacted on by COVID-19 restrictions as physical gatherings are discouraged during this period, and movement is restricted.”
This challenge gave MISA an opportunity to look into new and innovative ways to continue with trainings. Thanks to advancement in technology, classes will now conducted virtually through various platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webinars.
Though the classes are conducted virtually, they still have some of the elements of the traditional classroom style like brake away sessions and discussions and deliberations.
“The advantage of this platform is that it is cost effective and affords MISA a great opportunity to host a larger number of attendees at once as compared to venue-based classes”, continued Ngobeni
MISA understands the importance of these trainings, however, is equally constrained by the restrictions put in place to manage the spread of the coronavirus. As such, more virtual training initiatives are planned to take place in future.
MISA remains committed to upholding the vision of being “leaders in municipal infrastructure support”, even through these difficult times.