Statement by the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape

Rob Johnson: In memory of a master builder

It is with deep sadness that we learnt last week of the passing of our Executive Director, Rob Johnson.  The loss we feel of his friendship, counsel and leadership is immense. Rob will be remembered for his commitment to education and the upholding of standards in the industry. He was passionate about ensuring that the future of the industry would remain in the hands of fully trained and competent persons. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him both personally and professionally. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his wife and children.

Rob was well-known for constantly lobbying for the rights of employers in the building industry along with those of their employees. He was also a fervent campaigner for skills development and training in the industry.

Rob’s career in the industry began when he worked as an apprentice carpenter whilst completing a National Diploma in Construction Supervision. During his apprenticeship he worked on many projects ranging from housing schemes to the construction of blocks of flats. Once his apprenticeship came to an end his employer engaged him to look after the company’s small works division.

He was subsequently promoted to contracts manager and, after 16 years, spent a year and a half with a housing development company before forming his own company, Rob Johnson Construction, in 1983.

In 1995 he was elected to the executive committee of the Master Builders Association Western Cape (MBAWC) and was elected President of the association in 1999. In 2000, he joined the MBAWC as a full-time staff member and was appointed as the Executive Director.

In addition to serving as the MBAWC Executive Director, Rob was the Managing Trustee for the commercial arm of the Belmont Square Trust. He was also a Board Member of Master Builders South Africa and Chairman of the Occupational Health and Safety committee.

During the course of his career, he served for many years on the Construction CETA council but resigned due to feeling that his efforts towards skills training were constantly hindered by those who were disinterested in advancing skills in the industry.

Rob was passionate about skills delivery and quality of workmanship and thus spent a considerable amount of his time promoting contractor competency and contractor development.

When not working, Rob enjoyed woodwork and working with his hands – passions that resulted in him becoming Chairman of the Cape Town Woodworkers club. He also relished sailing radio controlled yachts and would take part in the annual RC Laser championships. Rob played the piano and guitar, and was the Chairperson of his neighbourhood watch.

Rob leaves behind his beloved wife, Margie, four children and two grandchildren.

MBAWC President Craig Bain states, “It is with great sadness and shock that we announce the passing of our Executive Director. Rob has been a Master Builder all his working life and has served the building industry with dedication and passion. Deepest condolences to the family. He will be greatly missed by the officers and staff at MBAWC along with the staff at Belmont Square Conference Centre, home of the Master Builders.”

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