Citizens of South Africa deserve ‘Value for Money’ infrastructure that is safe- CESA

Neresh Pather, President of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA)  in presenting his closing remarks at the end of the 2nd day of the CESA Infrastructure Indaba, taking place at the Durban International Convention Centre stated, “Our voice in recommending and suitably driving improved planning, design and procurement practices for Consulting Engineering Services related to the development of infrastructure making sure that the citizens of South Africa get ‘Value for Money’ infrastructure that is safe and designed to stand the test of time, must be heard. Let’s hear it,” said Pather. This appeal was made not only by CESA but also by many of the Government Entities that presented and engaged in debate at the Indaba.

The 2nd day of the CESA Infrastructure Indaba showcased a wide variety of presentations from industry stakeholders all aimed at ‘Engineering the Future now! The first session of the day focused regionally on KwaZulu Natal Infrastructure Development with presentations from Gregory Evans, eThekwini Municipality; Dumisani Nkabinde, SANRAL Eastern Region; Selvan Pillay, Transnet NPA Durban; Brendan Bournes-Harper, KwaZulu-Natal Public Works.

In his ‘Some Key Interventions to drive KZN to 2035’ presentation Evans stated “As a Metropolitan Municipality we face many challenges unique to our times as do other similar government bodies across SA.  Government and private sector need to work together to overcome these challenges and Consulting Engineers are perfectly placed to assist in this regard”. He stated more focus needs to be placed on more robust and implemented asset management systems; Real-time information, risk reduction solutions, creative thinking, effective budgeting; Preventative maintenance and stronger budgeting for such; Infrastructure re-use, redesign and creative cost-effective solutions; Development of a South African Body of Knowledge based on international best practices to address local challenges of Ageing Infrastructure. Evans stated that much needs to be done, “The capacity of the Construction Industry needs to be resurrected – it is an economic growth imperative”.

Nkabinde talking about SANRAL’s 2030 Roads Plan & A Sustainable Funding Model noted South Africa’s 5 transport challenges according to the Africa Transport Policy Programme (SSATP): High rate of road fatalities; Increasingly congested cities & poor urban planning; Poor connectivity hampering regional trade; Weak capacity and poor governance; as well as Climate change. Discussing the National Transport Master Plan 2050 he stated that it is well planned, integrated and aligned across sectors; responsive to growing passenger and freight customer needs; supports an inclusive spatial vision; well maintained and preserved and further developed to address/overcome developmental challenges.

Pillay in his presentation, ‘Port Infrastructure Developments in KZN – Richards Bay and Durban’ states that Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), a business division of Transnet SOC Ltd owns, manages, controls and operates South Africa’s commercial harbours as an integrated system. Pillay discussed Port Development Framework Plans; Expansion Projects as well as Capital Expenditure for the region.

Bournes-Harper in his presentation unpacked the KZN Infrastructure Master Plan, he stated “Our Master Plan provides a basis for alignment of the sector master plans of infrastructure implementing agents operating in the Province, focusing on: Sea Ports and Airports; Road and Rail; Water and Sanitation; Electricity; ICT; Health and Education Facilities; and Human Settlements and Waste Management”. This forms part of the World Class Mix of Integrated Infrastructure Solutions aimed at achieving the Vision of the KwaZulu Natal Province by 2035.

The 2nd session focused on Collaboration: Professionalization of the Engineering Sector facilitated by Amanda Masondo-Mkhize from CESA’s Young Professionals Forum and included presentations by Ishmail Cassiem, cidb; Sunith Kasserchurn, IMESA; and Adv. Pieter Fourie, CBE.

Cassiem in his presentation, ‘cidb Best Practice: Professionalization & Ethics / Integrity’ stated, “It is the cidb’s view that contracting organisations need to demonstrate that they are implementing anti-corruption measures within their organisations and that their business practices are ethical. Cassiem stated that the cidb is presently consulting on possible changes to the cidb Registration Criteria for the Register of Contractors to include a mandatory requirement for registration for anti-bribery management systems for Grade 9 contractors.

Adv. Fourie, informed the audience that, “The revised Identification of Work (IDoW) is aimed at providing for an amendment to government legislation in respect of professional registration making it likely that it will become mandatory for practitioners in the Built Environment professions to register with their respective Councils”.

The 3rd session and final session of the day focused on Ethical Leadership facilitated by Jeshika Ramchund, GAMA YPFSC included a thought-provoking presentation on ’Building Ethical Fitness’ by Gideon Pogrund from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business.

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