The prestigious SAICE Awards gala event for the Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Project Achievements for 2011/2012 was held at the Emperors Palace in Gauteng on 11 October.

There are three categories for technical excellence in civil engineering. The winners of the 2011/2012 Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Project Achievements are:

·Community-based projects

The joint winners:

eThekwini Zibambele Poverty Alleviation Programme

The Zibambele Programme is an example of how civil engineering can bring a number of benefits to society, in particular facilitating job creation, skills development, capacity building and the alleviation of poverty. The programme, which provides cost-effective, labour-intensive methods for the routine maintenance of the eThekwini Municipality rural road network, is run by the eThekwini Roads and Stormwater Maintenance Department in conjunction with a joint venture between Naidu Consulting and Vela VKE. Zibambele offers meaningful employment to mostly woman-headed households in the most impoverished areas of the community, empowering these women by providing training on road maintenance and other life skills. Zibambele also provides a training ground for S3 civil engineering students who are able to utilise the programme to obtain the necessary skills for their experiential training. Currently there are approximately 6 000 beneficiaries on this programme. This equates to an estimated 2 500 km of eThekwini’s road network being maintained under the Zibambele Programme.

Community residential Unit (CRU) Refurbishment Programme                                                                                              

Unsatisfactory maintenance conditions prevailed in Cape Town’s housing stock of 43 500 units providing accommodation to approximately 340 000 people. These conditions contributed to social ills such as gangsterism, drug usage and the total lack of community pride. In order to address these issues, the City of Cape Town launched its Community Residential Unit Refurbishment Programme, as part of the national subsidy Refurbishment Programme. The project team included Aurecon as developers and project managers, and Filcon and Vusela as main contractors. The project, which included the involvement and mass movement of tenants, proved to be highly complex in its community challenges and social dynamics, requiring precision planning and an innovative approach. This successful intervention resulted in a substantial improvement in the lives of tenants who had previously become accustomed to unsafe and poorly maintained rental accommodation. It is the first time in South Africa where a CRU programme has been implemented for renovations and upgrade work of this magnitude.  

·Technical Excellence projects

The civil engineering industry makes a huge contribution towards infrastructure creation and the resultant economic and social development in South Africa.  Exceptional projects have been entered this year and the adjudicators decided on joint winners, as well as one commendation:

Joint winners:

Upgrading of the Koeberg Interchange

The upgrade of the Koeberg Interchange alleviates the congestion on one of Cape Town’s busiest interchanges. The unique project required construction of two new  directional ramps at a third level over the old interchange, while maintaining the existing traffic flow of 200 000 vehicles per day. The upgrade and commissioning of Ramp A improved the traffic flow from the N1 to the M5 southbound before the World Cup event, thereby avoiding any backup obstructions to the N1 inbound traffic. Ramp B for northbound traffic from the M3 to the N1 was completed just over a year later, dramatically improving the level of service of the interchange. Innovative construction techniques reduced traffic deviations to a minimum, allowing construction to proceed quickly by maximising off-site production. The project provided traffic relief to the wider community, contributed significantly to the employment opportunities for local communities and empowerment opportunities for subcontractors. The main consultants were HHO Africa, with the Group Five and Power Construction joint venture as main contractors.

Kraaifontein Waste Management Facility                                                          

The City of Cape Town’s R230 million Kraaifontein Waste Management Facility is the first large-scale “green-fields” refuse transfer station in South Africa that is integrated with a mechanised materials recovery facility, receiving co-mingled recyclables, separated and collected at source. A key focus for this facility was to move waste management towards a more sustainable municipal service, one that meets new national waste regulatory requirements, reduces waste transportation costs, provides meaningful employment, effectively diverts waste from the landfill and enhances the beneficial use of waste. The success of the facility is attributed to excellent teamwork and foresight by the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Management Department, and the high-quality civil engineering design, construction and project management delivered by consultants Jeffares & Green/GJA joint venture, and main contractors Haw & Inglis Projects.


Brakspruit Bridge Project                                                                                                                                                     

A train derailment in September 2010 caused part of the Brakspruit Bridge between Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa to collapse. TRANSNET faced serious financial losses while the line was out of operation, and it was imperative for them to restore the train service as soon as possible. GOBA Consulting Engineers were appointed to design a temporary structure and to then proceed with design, documentation and construction supervision of a permanent replacement structure. By applying sound engineering principles, and with teamwork and sheer determination, a temporary structure was designed and built in just five weeks, returning the line to service.  An innovative new structural system was then designed using technology that eliminated any further disruption to the train service. The existing bridge substructure was modified and strengthened, while a new pre-stressed concrete deck was cast on staging adjacent to the temporary bridge. The permanent structure was completed by main contractor Stefanutti Stocks Civils, in an environmentally sensitive manner, and within budget and programme.

·International projects of excellence where South African engineers are involved


St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort                                                                           

February 2012 saw the official opening of the stunning new St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort – a prestigious development on Saadiyat Island, 500 m off the coast of the United Arab Emirates capital city of Abu Dhabi. The professional team comprised Aurecon as the structural and civil engineering-company and the Al Habtoor/Murray & Roberts joint venture as the main contractor.

SAICE also introduced awards for entries by their technical divisions:

The Water Engineering Division Award winner:

The Bedford Dam on the Drakensberg escarpment on the border between the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Joint Structural Engineering Division:


They received a commendation for the Margate Sky Bridge.


SAICE’s Individual Awards for 2012:


SAICE Young Civil Engineer of the Year: Bridgette KerstSAICE Technologist Achiever of the Year: Oliver Rowe

SAICE Civil Engineer of the Year: Werner Jerling

SAICE Student Chapter of the Year: University of Cape Town


SAICE Branch of the Year: The SAICE Durban Branch

SAICE Division of the Year: The SAICE Transportation Engineering Division


The SAICE Photo Competition 2012 winner is:


Photographer Charles Stolper for his photo entitled “Reach for the Sky”.

In conclusion, the Award for the Most Supportive Advertiser in the SAICE Magazine, Civil Engineering, went to Civil Designer.


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