DBI Consulting develops infrastructure database for South Africa

Monty Ditibane, MD of DBI Consulting.
Monty Ditibane, MD of DBI Consulting.

A major project to assess the state of infrastructure across South Africa is being undertaken by DBI Consulting.

“We are determining the exact location of the infrastructure, its current state and then the replacement cost and all potential funding sources available,” explains MD Monty Ditibane, Pr Eng (Tech), B Eng (Civil), MBL. Ditibane is an entrepreneur in the infrastructure, engineering services, energy, finance and technology sectors and founder of a range of engineering and technology businesses.

The project encompasses all nine provinces and consists of dashboards and a detailed database, all based on DBI Consulting’s in-house GIS model. “This gives us a major advantage in terms of infrastructure planning for our clients,” adds Ditibane. “It is both a value-add and a distinct in-house capability we have developed.”

Another key differentiator for the company in its strength in appraising projects for infrastructure financing. “This is something we are highly specialised in and makes us a unique business in the market. We support investors to attain alpha returns on their investments in infrastructure projects by keeping an eye out for opportunities and returns,” notes Ditibane.

“We strive to be a highly integrated business by virtue of linking investment and corporate finance specialists and bankers with our infrastructure mandate. We believe the only way that this country is going to grow and shave off unemployment is when all stakeholders are at the table. Hence you need infrastructure practitioners such as us who can translate that mandate into a practical and feasible reality,” explains Ditibane.

“We confidently inform corporate financiers and investment bankers as to the returns they can expect by investing in such projects. We write those appraisal stories from an engineering perspective but translated into financial language.” Ditibane adds that DBI Consulting is sufficiently flexible and adaptable to partake in the 360° ecosystem of infrastructure, running the gamut from energy supply to transportation and water, all integrated into a single delivery model.

“We solve people’s everyday problems. That is the reason for our existence,” Ditibane says simply. The company’s capability to assess projects means it has established a high level of confidence with financiers. “We perceive opportunities in all situations, which means that funders and investors in general have a high level of faith in us.”

Ditibane argues that social infrastructure is essential for local community development and for the South African economy to expand. “Such growth requires security of water and energy, sectors we are quite strong in. Additional requirements are land availability and streamlined bureaucratic processes,” he notes.

“Our mantra is that South Africa presents a lot of opportunities for companies such as us. However, there is a misalignment between this vision at national level vis-à-vis the role of local authorities in terms of authorisations, town planning, land use applications and other approvals. At a policy level there is no problem as we have some of the best policies ever committed to paper, but there are serious weaknesses at an implementation level,” argues Ditibane.

He points to the protracted period from advertising a tender to when it is finally awarded, during which time many a business has gone under due to the lack of a sustainable pipeline of projects. This is where a company like DBI Consulting stands to play a key role. “We do believe that as businesses we have some level of accountability and responsibility in being able to unblock these kinds of challenges.”

Ditibane points to the company’s experience in Infrastructure Development Management Systems (IDMS), the Standard for Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery Management (SIPDM) and the Framework for Infrastructure Delivery and Procurement Management (FIDPM). All this knowledge can be disseminated throughout the various government departments responsible for infrastructure development.

“Due to our capabilities, we take a holistic approach to project management and engineering design by mapping out workable processes that are cost-effective and can ensure a single point of accountability or interface,” stresses Ditibane. Both the public and private sectors can even collaborate on Project Management Offices to oversee holistic infrastructure development throughout the country, he concludes.

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