SAICE President Dr Chris Herold accompanied by SAICE COO Steven Kaplan PrEng, President of the American Society of Engineers (ASCE), Mark Woodson P.E., Executive Director (ASCE) Thomas Smith and Director of Global Programs (ASCE) Meggan Maughan–Brown visited Durban on 16 May.
The visit kicked off with a meeting with Regional Mayor Councillor James Nxumalo and eThekwini Municipality Chief Strategy Officer Adrian Peters PrEng. Top of the agenda were discussions around the re-professionalisation of the public sector. Engineering practitioners and engineering in local government remains a critical issue and there was a call for engineering practitioners to understand the challenges which the public sector officials and leaders are facing on a daily basis. Sustainability and optimisation of life cycle costing for new and existing infrastructure were also touched on.
Hot on everyone’s lips was the urgency and importance of transformation within the public sector and throughout South Africa. Steven Kaplan noted that SAICE was fully aware of the contentious transformation issues and were focusing on increasing the amount of scholars opting to study Civil Engineering – “we are trying to encourage and raise awareness to high school learners through our internal initiatives – the international Bridge Building and Aqualibrium Water competitions, to promote the civil engineering profession”.
Both SAICE and ASCE delegations had a chance to meet with the Dean, Engineering Head of Department and students at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.