Back to the basics will lead to the appointment of the right consulting engineer for the right project

Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) supports the clarion call made by President Jacob Zuma at the SALGA National Members Assembly that the government should do better in improving services such as water infrastructure, solid waste management and the provision of electricity.

CESA President Abe Thela says that the organisation is encouraged by the statement but believes that employing engineering skilled persons in engineering positions as well as empowering them above other disciplines such as finance in matters relating to infrastructure management and implementation will go a long way in addressing inefficiencies in local government. 

The government has responded to improve professionalism and the management of local government by introducing amendments to local government legislation, for example the Municipal System Amendment Act. President Zuma reiterated that there should be no compromise in ensuring that officials possess the necessary minimum skills. Chief financial officers should be skilled in what they are doing, engineers and other technical staff should also be experts in what they have been employed to do: that is the key solution to the problems facing local government.

"CESA has, for some time now, been bringing to the fore inefficiencies in the management and implementation of public-sector infrastructure projects. Shortfalls such as lack of planning, inappropriate procurement approaches, lack of project management capacity and capability, lack of other necessary technical skills in the public sector, rampant corruption, etc. bleed Government’s constraint purse and rob communities of much needed services" says Thela.

President Zuma said that going back to the basics means reviewing tendering systems and dealing with corruption systematically within the supply chain system in local government. Going to the basics also means working harder to expand poverty alleviation programmes such as the Community Work Programme, which provide skills and work opportunities for the people.

"To CESA, going back to basics means a conducive environment for the implementation and management of infrastructure projects which will lead to the appointment of the right consulting engineer for the right project and improved maintenance of existing infrastructure. The implementation of the same process must protect the engineering profession both in Government and private consulting engineering practice from unscrupulous tender opportunists," concludes Thela.

CESA with the backing of our over 500 strong member firms recommit itself to partner with government and other key role players in finding lasting and practical solutions to these problems, especially in relation to infrastructure development.