CESA applauds Aurecon

As an organisation that represents the interests of the consulting engineering industry, Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), is always perturbed when matters that could impact on the well-being of the industry end up being decided upon in the courts of law.

Following a judgement in favour of the City of Cape Town made by the Western Cape Division (WCD) of the High Court in April 2014, the effect of which would have precluded a consulting engineering company that had any involvement in pre-feasibility (upstream) work from the downstream phases of work. Subsequently, Aurecon, a CESA member firm, who had originally been involved in the matter decided to file an application for leave to appeal the judgement with the Supreme Court of Appeal. The decision to do so was based on a principled standpoint on the very strict interpretation of the word "involved" in Clause 27(4) of the Municipal Finance Management Act No. 56 of 2003, by the City of Cape Town and subsequently the WCD of the High Court.

If left unchallenged, not only would this have had significant negative implications for the Consulting Engineering industry but, South Africa indeed, ran the risk of the "upstream" phase of engineering, arguably the most important aspect of infrastructure and engineering services delivery being neglected, allowing for sub-optimal subsequent phases with huge financial cost uncertainties with respect to the end product.

Unfortunately due to the complexities of the legal process, with CESA not being in a strong enough position to be recognised as an "Amicus Curiae - Friend of the Court" in the matter, the Organisation was unable to become directly involved in the appeal. Mindful though of its concerns around the principled issues being argued on behalf of the Industry, it had always been in support of the stance taken by Aurecon.

The appeal was heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal on the 21st of August 2015 and judgment was delivered in favour of Aurecon on the 9th of December 2015.
CESA would like to sincerely thank Aurecon for its resolve and boldness in standing for principle on behalf of industry.