Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) hosted their Gauteng presidential function at the Premier Hotel in Midrand on 12 May. This was the first in person presidential event to be held in the province since 2019, owing to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the corona virus. Themed around ‘“A Call to Service” – CESA is calling on consulting engineers and other infrastructure stakeholders to proactively contribute to South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Programme’; the event brought together stakeholders in the infrastructure and development space.
CESA chief executive officer Chris Campbell outlined the objectives of the day before handing over to Med-TechEngineers CEO and CESA Gauteng Branch Chairperson, Gift Mphefu. Welcoming guests and introducing the distinguished speakers, Mphefu stated, “We are grateful to gather in this venue again as partners in the infrastructure space and we are pleased to welcome you to this presidential visit”.
The first speaker was Wally Ramokopa, the Department of Water and Sanitation’s director for dam safety. In his presentation, Ramokopa lamented the dire shortage of approved professional persons (APPs) working on dams in South Africa. “The total number of active APPs on the Register is 93 with a large number of them above the age of 60 years,” stated Ramokopa. APPs are mandated to ensure the safety of dams in South Africa, which cause great harm to lives and livelihoods when they fail. “Organs of state also find it difficult to appoint APPs through a competitive bidding process as they are mostly forced to appoint those on the Register,” concluded Ramokopa.
The South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) was also represented at the event. Layton Leseane, SANRAL Northern Region project manager for construction provided a presentation on Gauteng’s current and future infrastructure planning/ budgeting and implementation plans. “Some of our challenges include business forums which are associations causing violent disruption of projects. Leseane also mentioned SANRAL’s aggressive transformation strategy which includes the direct benefit for communities in materials sourced locally and creating space for black business in rigid supply chains. “SANRAL wants to play a more direct role in emerging contractor development.”
CESA president, Olu Soluade and the chairperson of the CESA Transformation and Development Committee, Refilwe Lesufi presented the CESA message – ‘A Call to Service’. Kicking off the presentation, Soluade encouraged everyone to get involved in contributing to the economic recovery of South Africa. “To meet CESA’s mandate, to execute our strategic plans and to face the challenges of our industry together, my presidential theme for 2022 is “A Call to Service”, stated Soluade. He also reaffirmed CESA’s six key focus areas in its strategic plan as being ones it would as an organisation maintain for the next two years.
Lesufi talked about CESA’s aim to promote continuous improvement in the transformation and inclusivity of the consulting engineering sector. “As part of our mandate, we engage on a regular basis with both our members as well as other stakeholders on various transformation and development topics which not only focus on gender mainstreaming but include both technology and engineering innovation,” she said.