http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 12.97Change: 0.20
R/$ = 11.82Change: 0.30
Au 1212.27 $/ozChange: 5.56
Pt 1152.50 $/ozChange: -1.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 29, 2011

Corruption, lack of business integrity continue to challenge consulting engineers

Back
Knight Piesold MD Leon Furstenburg discusses education and corruption challenges in the consulting engineering sector. Camerawork: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Shane Williams.
 
 
 
Engineering|Africa|CoAL|Consulting|Contractor|Education|Nuclear|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|SSI|Storage|Africa|Energy|Nuclear|Power Generation|Power-generation|Consulting Engineers|Infrastructure|Power
Engineering|Africa|CoAL|Consulting|Contractor|Education|Nuclear|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|SSI|Storage|Africa|Energy|Nuclear|Power Generation|Power-generation|Consulting Engineers|Infrastructure|Power
engineering|africa-company|coal|consulting-company|contractor|education-company|nuclear-company|projects|renewable-energy|renewable-energy-company|ssi|storage|africa|energy|nuclear-industry-term|power-generation|power-generation-industry-term|consulting-engineers|infrastructure|power
© Reuse this



Corruption and a lack of business integrity in South Africa remain a significant concern for consulting engineers, says consulting engineering firm SSI CEO Naren Bhojaram.

This view is compounded by global civil soci- ety organisation Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index’ report, which has found that, between 2009 and 2010, the business integrity of many African countries has deteriorated and corruption has increased.

“There is a significant amount of power within political structures and, despite the fact that the functions of municipal councils and local government are separate, politi- cal power is being manipulated to the extent that jobs are offered to unqualified friends, salaries are inflated and the local tender committees at government structures are pressured to award tenders to companies willing to pay a bribe,” he says.

SSI, when inviting tenders on behalf of a client, often provides a report examining the tender objectively, analysing the price, any manipulation of rates, and the capability and capacity of the contractor that will undertake the work, the firm states.

The report comprises the results of the company’s analysis, the methods used, SSI’s suggestions regarding which company to award the tender to and further options for the client, after taking into consideration all factors.

However, reports, whether submitted by SSI or other consultants, are often disregarded and the tender is awarded, amid bribery between the contractors and the committee, to unquali- fied and inexperienced contractors in under-the-table deals, says Bhojaram.

The best way to mitigate integrity or corruption issues in certain councils or government structures is to avoid participation in their processes.

SSI and Knight Piésold, a firm of consulting engineers and scientists, say they are in a position to decline work they believe might involve corruption; however, some smaller companies have not yet developed a stable customer base and may need to participate to survive.

Bhojaram believes another solution would be to name and shame individuals and companies knowingly involved in corrupt deals and to openly examine the results of any investigations undertaken.

This will assist the industry in avoiding deals with these companies and learning from the corruption issues many are faced with daily.

Political Will
Meanwhile, Knight Piésold MD Leon Furstenburg says political meddling in decision-making overrides proper engineering judgment in projects.

For example, the past few years has seen an initiative to place retired engineers at municipalities to rebuild the lost skills capacity. However, there is continual conflict between the decision-makers and the engineer directing what is required to move forward.

Further examples include the power crisis that South Africa inevitably faced in 2008, as well as acid mine drainage, both of which were studied and noted extensively for many years by engineers and specialists before the situation reached crisis point.

“However, the decision-makers, who were not necessarily the correct persons to mitigate the potential challenge, did not take action on the basis of disbelief, or were not sufficiently experienced or qualified to understand the engi- neers’ suggested prevention concepts,” he says.

Furstenburg feels the country’s preoccupation with renewable-energy sources will result in similar challenges. As South Africa’s power generation is predominantly coal or nuclear based, the country does not have the hydro adsorption or pumped-storage capacity or infrastructure required to regulate input from these forms of renewable- energy sources, for example.

Education is Key
Corruption and lack of political will to combat it are endemic and education can go a long way towards mitigating these issues, says Furstenburg.

Corruption and education are linked, and better levels of education and understanding of engineering would go a long way towards reducing the attractiveness of corruption.

However, the quality of education in South Africa seems to have deteriorated, he says.

Some universities have reduced entrance requirements and dropped the course requirements for engineering qualifications, as these have proven difficult for some students.

“It is not progressive to change what one believes is too difficult or time consuming,” says Furstenburg. “This results in university degrees that lack quality and have no international recognition. Education should remain at a level where it is helpful and relevant.”

Bhojaram adds that schools and universities are not producing entrepreneurial thinkers. Depth of thinking is lacking in graduates, as students are taught the theory of the subject matter, but not how to successfully apply it in a practical scenario.

“This is due to the fact that the schools do not have adequately qualified teachers. The best teachers are not being sourced, as their salaries are too low. Deterioration in the quality of university graduates has been seen over the past 10 to 15 years,” he says.

To mitigate this challenge, SSI employees coach potential matriculants every Saturday in applying the theory they have been taught in practical applications, Bhojaram concludes.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Labour and Skills Development News
Information and communications technology (ICT) distributor DCC is making Windows- and Android-operating systems tablets available through retailers and education equipment suppliers to provide school children with affordable, high-performance education tools. The...
BEZ SANGARI Rich-media environments and content provide significant benefits for all subjects and improve learning and retention
Electronic and digital education tools, including interactive whiteboards and student-response systems, are empowering teachers to spend significantly more time preparing lessons, work on identified difficult topics and help students who struggle. Various...
To date, more than R1-billion has been invested in the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP), it was revealed at the launch of multinational computer technology company Dell’s multimillion-rand Equity Equivalent...
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 1 hour 28 minutes ago A number of foreign nationals that were displaced as a result of xenophobia-driven violence across Johannesburg and Durban’s inner city and township areas have started returning to their adoptive communities, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Migration...
Updated 1 hour 30 minutes ago South Africa will likely raise its 2015 maize output forecast after rains in crop-producing areas boosted production and yields, a survey of trading firms by Reuters showed on Tuesday. The government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) has previously forecast that the...
Updated 1 hour 40 minutes ago The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have partnered to launch the ‘AstroCompute in the Cloud’ grant programme to attract innovative tools and techniques to process, store and analyse the global astronomy community’s vast amounts...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Sappi Southern Africa CEO Alex Thiel
Forest products group Sappi has confirmed the selection of its 25 MW biomass-to-power project, to be erected at its Ngodwana mill, in Mpumalanga, as a preferred bidder under the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement...
Information and communications technology (ICT) distributor DCC is making Windows- and Android-operating systems tablets available through retailers and education equipment suppliers to provide school children with affordable, high-performance education tools. The...
Another cement manufacturer is set to enter the Ugandan market, raising hopes that prices will come down and spur growth in the construction industry. National Cement, a Kenyan manufacturer, has unveiled plans to invest $195-million in a new manufacturing plant in...
With growth rates exceeding that in the developed world – at an average of between 4% and 5% between 2002 and 2014 – African countries provide investors with ample reason to tap into booming consumer demand says Manufacturing Circle executive director Coenraad...
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) Business Confidence Index (BCI) decreased by 3.7 index points month-on-month to 89.1 in March.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96