by Cesa

Municipal engineers sought

CESA president sounds alarm

Naren Bhojaram: President of CESA
Naren Bhojaram 1.jpg


Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) President Naren Bhojaram has made a clarion call for the: ‘re-incarnation of the municipal engineer’ at the 76th annual conference of the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa (IMESA) held early in November.


He cited the fact that various interventions for training, development and capacitating of local authorities fail and training of young engineers is virtually non- existent and as a result of which, the profession becomes unattractive for any young person.


“The United Nations forecast for urban population by 2050 is projected to be 6.3 billion (up from 3.5 billion today). Why are we building infrastructure to last 50 years in the rural areas? Planning is done rather superficially and only a real municipal engineer and a competent team of visionary planners can sort that out,” cautioned Bhojaram.


He pointed out that CESA is excited about the work of the National Planning Commission, but questioned whether it will able to control political interference in the provincial and municipal spheres of government.


He used as examples the building of stadia and other international sport facilities, as white elephants with no hope of a sustainable business case, and creating international convention centres which are only used for its true purpose a few times a year.


“Job creation requires innovation in unlocking projects, a win-win mentality, and an entrepreneurial delivery mechanism with sharing of risks.”


Bhojaram stated that infrastructure delivery’s biggest stumbling block is business integrity which involves among others: socialising with clients, conflict of interest, use of agents and partners, collusion and bribery.


He proposed structural changes, including the abandonment of long term contracts for key technical and managerial staff, and that tender and bid evaluation committees must include technical, legal and financial executives in joint sitting and professional team must put in a report on tenders to the bid evaluation committees.


He recommended that the procurement legislation include a bribery and Corruption Act, such as the UK Bribery Act of 2010 should be introduced in South Africa (courts to prosecute on such an Act) and name and shame for business integrity issues.


As part of the solution going forward, Bhojaram avers that we need to embrace the municipal engineer as your trusted advisor, create a working environment to attract and retain municipal engineers and incentivise them accordingly, and do not try to do the job of the municipal engineer if you are not one.


Meanwhile, CESA would like to welcome new IMESA President Frank Stevens and CESA looks forward to working with him, and strengthening the ties of both organisations going forward.


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