Day: June 23, 2020

MESSAGE FROM ECSA PRESIDENTMESSAGE FROM ECSA PRESIDENT

Dear Valued ECSA Member

As the first quarter of ECSA’s financial calendar draws towards closure, ECSA continues to strive for the full maximisation of its mandate: to ensure the registration of engineering practitioners and augment for safe practice of the profession within the public sphere. Like most professionals who must be registered with their professional councils, engineers need to be registered with ECSA. Through the New Registration System (NRS), ECSA will be able to strengthen engineering registration requirements to grow and reinforce industry competence.

ECSA understands that the deliverables of its mandate are co-existent with industry stakeholders. It is for this reason that the Council recently set up its first of many media events to address the challenges of poor engineering service delivery at municipalities. The media round table discussions took place on 10 June 2015 at the OR Tambo Cultural Precinct. The participating panel included representatives from the Public Protector’s office, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Mayor’s office of Ekurhuleni Municipality, and ECSA. The discussions outlined an opportunity for closer collaboration between municipalities and the body regulating the engineering profession in order to ensure that the constitutional right to service delivery of every South African is met. This has stemmed from the challenges faced by municipalities in ensuring a seamless flow of service delivery and an ongoing focus on quality infrastructure development. Due to the success of the media roundtable, we will continue to host these events covering different topics that are pertinent to the industry at large.

As deliberated extensively in the media, ECSA is of the view that the issue of the employment of foreign engineers in this country needs to be understood in the context of contractual agreements between government or the employer and the engineers themselves. It would be irresponsible for ECSA to venture out of its gazetted mandate, into the territory reserved for the employers of the group in question.

In closing, we invite registered candidate engineering practitioners to take part in the ECSA committee structures so as to ensure that our stakeholders are part of the process of developing a formidable professional look for ECSA. The goal is to attract as many engineers as possible for registration through the NRS programme and create a platform that is transformed, transparent, fair and equitable.

We look forward to the continued support of all our members.

Yours truly,

Cyril Vuyani Gamede
ECSA President

Engenius visits Sci – Bono Engineering Week 2015Engenius visits Sci – Bono Engineering Week 2015

The Engenius team represented ECSA at Sci-Bono for the Engineering Week which took place from 04 – 08 May 2015, this is an annual event which showcases a range of careers available in the engineering profession and provide a platform for learners and educators to interact with industry.

The Engenius team’s participation in this event was meant at contributing towards the advancement of the Engineering profession, promotion of skills development and increasing the number of students enrolling into engineering study disciplines in tertiary institutions.

The Sci-Bono Engineering Week forms part of Sci-Bono’s career advocacy and skills development programme and targets Grade 8 – 12 Gauteng learners, educators as well as the youth. This gave Engenius an opportunity to continue working towards achieving their target of reaching 16 000 learners per annum.

Through exhibiting and conducting hands-on workshops, the Engenius team was able to enhance understanding and appreciation of Engineering, demonstrate its real life applications and how it affects our daily lives. It was also vital to highlight the essential key tools – pure Maths and Physical Science which are a pre-requisite for learners wishing to pursue a career in engineering.

Engenius spreads its wings to the Limpopo Rural Education FestivalEngenius spreads its wings to the Limpopo Rural Education Festival

Engenius has a task to promote engineering to learners in rural areas. The team attended the Limpopo Rural Education Festival (RED Fest) which was themes: Taking rural education to the next level. This event took place in the former Sekgosese College of Education in Mopani District Limpopo Province from 11 – 15 May 2015. The Engenius team engaged with learners to deliver engineering information and career guidelines to the participating Grade 7 to 12 learners.

The RED fest is one of few existing events in the province with objectives:

  • To continue to increase the higher standard of education in rural areas with an exponential growth.
  • To expose our rural learners to various Mathematics, Science, Technology and Engineering (MSTE) career opportunities
  • To enhance learners’ understanding and appreciation of MSTE through interactive workshops, projects, puzzles and mental mathematics challenges.
  • To raise awareness and enhancing understanding of our existing Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). Also using cultural knowledge and customs to address health issues affecting our learners
  • To involve parents in supporting the schooling system as well as works of our learners in rural communities.

The event attracted about 30 000 learners and 832 teachers, with the Engenius hands-on workshop sessions reaching 507 learners.

ECSA encourages learners to study Engineering at SABC Career IndabaECSA encourages learners to study Engineering at SABC Career Indaba

ECSA took an advantage of the platform provided by the SABC Education Career Indaba which took place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 18 – 19 May 2015 to encourage learners to study engineering. Sandisa Maqubela made a presentation to learners about the Engenius project and emphasized that learners need to ensure that they do pure maths and physical science and at least have 60% pass rate in order for them to be accepted to study for an engineering qualification.

The SABC Career Indaba is a learner-focused careers and further education event in South Africa, designed to connect learners directly with top employers and institutions of further education. This year the event attracted over 85 exhibitors and a projected visitor attendance of over 5 000.

The learners who attend Career Indaba have the opportunity to attend free workshop sessions designed to improve their skills like CV writing and interview techniques, and get advice on subject choices to secure their ideal job. ECSA needs to participate more in these events and continue to advocate for the engineering profession. This will help increase the number of learners who study engineering and eventually increase the number of much needed engineering practitioners, especially those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

Learners also got engaged with thinking about their future in a relaxed and enjoyable environment, surrounded by their peers.

President’s Forum reinforces VA partnershipPresident’s Forum reinforces VA partnership

On 16 April 2015 ECSA gathered with representatives from the recognized Voluntary Associations to host its first President’s Forum meeting this year. The purpose of the Forum is to facilitate dialogue amongst VA’s and increase the channels of communication between ECSA and the VA’s. It also exists to create a platform for sharing of information and keep abreast of industry demands and changes with the broader engineering fraternity. The meeting also had a representation from the Department of Public Works (DPW), a department that ECSA reports to through the Council for Built Environment (CBE).

DPW helped to drive debates around government transformation initiatives, policies and discourse around the relevance of the council in the community within which it exists. Chairing the meeting was Ms. Revona Botha, who is a council member and also the Chairperson of the VA Committee. Some of the issues for discussion revolved around the existing Forum and whether or not there was a need to establish a CEO’s Forum so as to keep the discussions more consistent at an operational level as some of the VA Presidents were not serving their institutions on a full-time basis.

On a governance perspective, it was deemed necessary to confer on the status of policy changes such as the development of the Built Environment Professions Bill and the Identification of Engineering Work (IDoEW). A bulk of the deliberations also went towards the recent New Registration System (NRS) roadshows that were hosted nationally during March and guidelines towards the membership fee structure thereof.

Mr Sipho Madonsela, new ECSA CEO who assumed his management role six months ago also addressed the Forum for the first time on the structure of the organization internally. He shared his plans to re-align the operational structure at management level to retain capacity and ensure maxim efficiency of the operations. The council also re-enforced the mandate of ECSA’s primary role for the regulation of the engineering profession so that it remains relevant to its members but also to its stakeholders that make this role achievable. The roll-out of NRS is one such example of ensuring that the infrastructure of ECSA is transformed for the betterment of its role.

It was also affirmed that the different projects within ECSA should be strengthened through the Strategic Services pillar of the council to address the challenge of national engineering skills shortage. The projects would also be aligned to existing initiatives within VA’s and government departments. ECSA thanks all participants of the Forum and looks forward to a much more constructive meeting in August.

Engenius joins the Department of Public Works on its Career Days initiativeEngenius joins the Department of Public Works on its Career Days initiative

The National Department of Public Works (DPW) hosted Career Days on 22, 24 and 29 April at adopted schools (Rakgotso High School, Soshanguve South High School and WF Nkomo High School) partaking in the departmental Schools Programme. The Programme aims to encourage, support learning of Maths and Science whilst aligning the learners with the right career choices.

For the first time, ECSA was invited to exhibit and make a short presentation on career options within the Engineering sector and opportunities available.

The event was coordinated to allow stakeholders to engage with learners through group presentations, divided into three sessions namely Maths & Science Stream, Humanities Stream and Commercial Stream. Sandisa Maqubela presented on the crucial need for more engineers in South Africa, emphasizing the importance for learners to study hard and excel on their Maths and Science subjects.

Standard Bank, SA Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SAICA), South African Police Service (SAPS), Agrement SA, Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa (ILASA), South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), ABSA, Tshwane North College, South African Institute of Chartered Accountant, and the DPW Young Professionals were among the attendees to give career guidance.

We look forward to receiving more invitations from the department, to drive and unpack the engineering profession to disadvantaged yet bright South African learners.

ECSA endorsed the KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Technology Exhibition (KITE) 2015ECSA endorsed the KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Technology Exhibition (KITE) 2015

This was a regional industrial exhibition for professionals that are looking for new solutions and for new technology which took place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from 09 – 12 June 2015. ECSA participated in this event as one of the exhibitors. Mr TC Madikane, ECSA Communication, Information and Marketing (CIM) committee chairperson conducted a presentation on 11 June 2015. The presentation focused on the A – Z of Registration with ECSA, touched on the new registration system as well as promoting the benefits of registration with ECSA.

These workshops are proving to be quite popular with delegates as the presented was attended even in the darkness due to load-shedding, it was a full house. Mr Madikane continued to take a lot of questions after the presentation on the new registration system, continuous professional development and candidacy phase.

KITE is the ideal place to secure the latest technical information and industrial know-how which engineering practitioners require to be able to take their business to the next level.

Visitors to KITE were senior decision makers who came from industries such as Agriculture, Forestry, Mining & Quarrying, Construction, Transport, Automotive & Metals, Ship Building & Repairs. They hold positions such as: Directors; Owners; Managers; Specifiers; Contractors; Developers; Engineers; Regional government personnel and Municipalities.

This profile of delegates provided ECSA with an opportunity to market the benefits of registration, encouraging people to register with ECSA. This increases ECSA’s visibility and brand awareness to stakeholders.

ECSA STAKEHOLDER RELATIONSECSA STAKEHOLDER RELATIONS

Addressing the African utilities’ challenges

ECSA participated in the African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa event. This was a singular must-attend event for the power and water utilities professionals in Africa and the largest global meeting of its kind.

Beyond the top quality learning opportunities presented at this event, an audience of 80+ African utilities plus 5000+ attendees ensured this event maintains its reputation as Africa’s leading power & water industry event. This year the event took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 12 -14 May 2015.

ECSA participated as exhibitors in this event with the intention to make ECSA visible and accessible to its stakeholders and promoting the benefits of registration. This provided a platform for marketing the ECSA brand to unregistered persons and those who do not know about ECSA.

ECSA conducted a workshop “The A-Z of registration with ECSA” which was conducted by Rod Harker.

The attendance to this workshop was overwhelming and just showed how essential it is to have such workshops and engage potential registered persons and those already registered who seek clarity on some aspects of registration, especially the new registration system.

This did provide value for money. ECSA had also booked a media advert on Engineering News for this event. The copy was placed on the Media Lounge which received great exposure to the delegates. ECSA received more value and publicity through an interview of the CEO, Sipho Madonsela which was featured on the Institute for Municipal Engineers of SA (IMIESA) magazine, as the copy was also placed at the media lounge.

ECSA NEWS FEATURE ARTICLESECSA NEWS FEATURE ARTICLES

The need for water conservation and hygiene awareness in rural communities

By Nakampe Modike (Pr.Sci.Nat.)

Founding Member: African Hands for Youth (NPO)

Drinking clean water is necessary to remain healthy. But clean water is also necessary for all aspects of hygiene. Safe water supplies and sanitation are vital for protecting the environment, improving health and alleviating poverty. Improvements in one or more components of water supply and sanitation, for example quality, quantity or hygiene education, can substantially reduce the number of cases of water and sanitation related diseases.

Research actually shows that as the availability of water increases, the standards of hygiene are improved and incidents of water and sanitation related diseases decrease. Hygiene awareness and education in the proper use of water, is necessary for correct hygiene practises and methods of sanitation as it has a strong influence upon the health of communities. Most water related diseases are caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated by human excreta. Diarrhea is generally the number one cause of infectious illness resulting from unsafe hygiene, contamination of clean water or poor sanitation.

In many developing countries, operation and maintenance (O&M;) of small, community water-supply and sanitation systems has been neglected, This has led to some alarming statistics, with an estimated 30%–60% of existing rural water-supply systems inoperative at any given time, and more than 2 billion people worldwide lacking access to any type of improved sanitation (WHO, 2003) Inadequate water supply and sanitation are largely responsible for the high levels of water borne diseases in Southern Africa, where the majority of people live in rural areas and do not have appropriate sanitation systems (Hirji, 2002).

South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that enshrines the basic right to sufficient water in its Constitution, stating that “Everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water”. However, much remains to be done to fulfil that right.

After the end of Apartheid South Africa’s newly elected government inherited huge services backlogs with respect to access to water supply and sanitation. According to one source, about 15 million people were without safe water supply and over 20 million without adequate sanitation services in 1990. The share of the population with access to an improved water source increased from 83% in 1990 to 91% in 2010.

Almost 15 million people gained access during that period. However, this remains short of expectations: In his State of the Union address in May 2004 President Thabo Mbeki had promised “all households will have running water within five years”. Despite substantial progress, this goal was not fully achieved. In some rural areas, women spend up to one-third of their time fetching water from streams and wells. They are also responsible for using it to cook meals, wash laundry and bathe children.

Notably, is the fact that in most rural communities, water quality comes second to its quantity, and this is mainly due to the limited water resources in these areas. A further compounding factor is the fact that water in rural areas often receives only partial or minimal treatment, while isolated communities and villages without access to electricity or other amenities often use water directly from rivers or streams without treatment. In the latter cases, both water quantity and quality may be affected by seasonal droughts or floods which might results in water born disease (Department of Health, 2009).

To prevent such illnesses, it is not sufficient just to construct improved water supply and sanitation facilities in rural communities. The facilities must be operated, maintained and used continuously by everybody in a safe way. This requires that both the community and municipality officials are keen to have safe, reliable, and accessible water and sanitation services at all times. Community awareness is essential in this process as it promotes the correct and safe use of facilities and services.

In response to these challenges, there’s a great need to educate communities in rural areas especially in schools youth about water conservation and hygiene, while encouraging them to choose a career within the water sector. Profession such as Water Engineers, process controller, Artisans and water resources Scientist are less known/common in rural areas but yet very critical in ensuring that we have safe and reliable drinking water in our communities

In my opinion these initiatives can easily be achieved by improving access to water and sanitation information and educational resources especially to assist with awareness and career guidance in rural areas which can be used to educate the youth in schools with the hope that they will carry the message to their homes, communities and be inspired to become future water leaders.

MUNICIPALITIES & ECSA: COLLABORATION NECESSARY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLICMUNICIPALITIES & ECSA: COLLABORATION NECESSARY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC

JOHANNESBURG: The opportunity exists for closer collaboration between municipalities and the body regulating the engineering profession in order to ensure that the constitutional right to service delivery of every South African is met. This has stemmed from the challenges faced by municipalities in ensuring a seamless flow of service delivery and an ongoing focus on quality infrastructure development.

This was outlined during the panel discussion around municipal service delivery challenges, with the panel comprising Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Cllr Mondli Gungubele; Executive Mayor of Midvaal, Cllr Bongani Baloyi in his capacity as SALGA’s chairperson Municipal Trading Services; Deputy Public Protector, Advocate Kevin Malunga, and Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) Executive Education Standards and Policies, John Cato.

Speaking on behalf of the people, Advocate Malunga indicated that the bulk of queries coming to the office of the Public Protector in the last financial year have been targeted at municipalities. Out of the complainants received, the highest number was against municipalities, with the top five complaints being:

  • Poor service delivery
  • Land and housing
  • Billings & service delivery
  • Tender process irregularities
  • Housing delivery gone wrong

“The number of requests we have received speaks to the public’s frustration in the ability of the state to provide public services to its residents,” said Advocate Malunga.

With a mandate which speaks to ensuring a democratic and accountable local government for communities, SALGA has a vital role to play in ensuring that the lost faith is restored. In outlining some of the challenges experienced by local government in its 15 year trajectory, Cllr Baloyi indicated that in some instances, unregistered engineers had delivered unacceptable work, resulting in a municipalities being unable to provide some critical services to its constituents. “Our primary objective is to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner, with our residents as the primary focus of our work,” said Cllr Baloyi. The first 15 years of local government’s existence has seen some significant successes, although there is room for improvement. “We have seen great achievements in the last 15 years, but we still need to do more work. It may appear as if we have not met all of our targets. However, as you can imagine, the population has grown, and this has meant that we need to keep improving our delivery to meet the growing demands of the communities we serve,’ Baloyi added.

Speaking specifically about the Ekurhuleni Municipality, Cllr Gungubele said that their ability to provide quality service has been impaired by poor standards of work. “It costs our municipality more to fix engineering work that has not been executed professionally in the first place. In Ekurhuleni, the focus is on how we can make the entire value chain of service delivery simpler, better and faster,” he added. Ekurhuleni, through the construction of the O.R Tambo Cultural Precinct, has demonstrated that there is local engineering expertise that can offer specialised services to its community, such as a solar farm producing 200KW of energy; and efficient technologies such as rain water harvesting and waste water management. “This facility generates its own resources and recycles the waste as well,” added Gungubele.

In responding to the challenges outlined by the local government and municipal stakeholders, ECSA emphasized its role as the regulator of the profession, which includes setting standards; the registration of persons who meet educational requirements in candidate categories; and registration of persons in professional categories who demonstrate competency against the prescribed standards for the different categories.

In addition to this ECSA has a role to ensure that the code of conduct is adhered to by all registered engineering practitioners in their engineering activities. This was welcomed by the stakeholders, who indicated the need for closer collaboration in ensuring the standards set by ECSA are the same that are insisted on in service delivery roll-out, across all local government structures.

In outlining the solutions to some of these challenges, ECSA recommended the professionalization of systems at municipal level, which would ensure that professionals are empowered to do their jobs through an appreciation by administrators, of the nature and value of engineering. ECSA stressed the need for consideration to be given to creating a central tender awarding system at a national level which must then be supported by professional assessment and consultation.

There are also challenges at an operational level for engineers working within local government, and we would recommend greater delegation of tasks, as technical staff is not given the authority to make importance decisions – with decision-making being an integral part of the engineering process. Engineers working in local government are often not in a position to sign off their projects and make decisions. “The need to return authority to line management cannot be over-emphasized,’ said John Cato of ECSA.

The meeting adjourned with an agreement from all stakeholders that there is a need for a regular predicted interaction, working on specific milestones and deliverables per region.

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ECSA REGISTERS ENGINEERS – REGARDLESS OF THEIR NATIONALITY

 

JOHANNESBURG: The spotlight has recently been shone on the engineering profession, stemming from the deployment into the Freestate Province, of a group of non-South African engineers, to service the province’s engineering needs.

Questions have arisen from various sources, directed to the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) about the suitability of these engineers to service the South African population. It would be irresponsible for ECSA to venture out of its gazetted mandate, into the territory reserved for the employers of the group in question, and respond to the questions of who, why, how etc. It is not ECSA’s role or mandate to offer responses on these issues.

ECSA’s only concern is the need for these individuals to be registered with the council, which is determined by the scope of engineering work they have been contracted to undertake. If they will be required to take responsibility for the engineering work, and sign it off as complete, they are required to be registered with ECSA.

In order to understand ECSA’s stance on this matter, it must be understood that ECSA has been born out of the Professions Act, 2000, with its primary role being to regulate the engineering profession in accordance with the Act. The full extent of the regulation of the engineering profession includes the registration of every level and category of engineering and the renewal thereof; accreditation of engineering programmes in institutes of higher education around South Africa; and the evaluation and recognition of qualifications.

The process of registration of an individual with ECSA is structured into two segments: the evaluation and recognition of educational standards; and the assessment of that individual’s competence.

The recognition and evaluation of qualifications is a standard procedure for registering all individuals, regardless of their nationality, and is measured according to the educational standards set in the Washington, Sydney and Dublin accords. Any applicant who obtained their qualification in any of the countries that are signatories to the three accords (of which South Africa is a signatory to all three) will have an automatic recognition of their qualifications as they would have graduated from engineering programmes that are benchmarked against an international standard as agreed in the three accords. Other applicants with qualifications obtained in non-signatory countries (such as Cuba, France, Germany, Zimbabwe) will go through a qualification evaluation process, where ECSA will have to contact that institute of higher learning that issued the degree, to determine the standard of that qualification.

The evaluation of qualifications is marked against the base degree in a category, which means that if an individual has attained an honours degree in a particular discipline of engineering, it does not enhance their chances of registration.

Once the qualification evaluation process is complete, the next phase can commence, which is the assessment of competence based on that applicants’ experience, to determine which category of registration they qualify for. Again, this process is the same for South African and non-South African applicants. The applicant is required to demonstrate experience in their chosen discipline of a minimum of three years, under the supervision and mentorship of a registered engineering professional. This assessment, which is conducted by a peer-review panel, seeks to interrogate the applicant’s competence to work in the designated category. This would be both practical work, as well as the demonstration of strong problem-solving abilities.

Once this process is completed, and the peer-review panel is satisfied that the applicant is suitable to be registered, registration is conferred, and that individual is categorised as a professional in the appropriate category.

The issue of the origin of an engineer is irrelevant to ECSA in the registration process, as demonstrated by the fact that in excess of 1 300 non-South African engineers are currently registered with ECSA, working across different categories and disciplines of engineering in South Africa.