The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) on Tuesday started its nationwide consultative process on the revisions to its governance instruments, namely the recognition of Voluntary Associations (VAs) framework, the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) policy, and commitment and undertaking guidelines.
The commitment and undertakings would be accompanied by accords with employer bodies.
The revision of these instruments pointed to ECSA’s ongoing activities that were aimed at increasing efficiencies for the benefit of all engineers, as well as the South African public.
In setting the context for the need for this public consultative process, ECSA CEO Sipho Madonsela highlighted the numerous comments that were made by the engineering profession during the last national roadshow in early 2015.
The concerns of the profession highlighted during this process motivated the revision of the three frameworks under review.
Parallel to these concerns, ECSA had received independent requests from government and from the VAs to consult on the compilation of the revision of these documents.
To make the process efficient, ECSA drafted one revision which all stakeholders could align with.
ECSA President Cyril Gamede spoke of the need to demystify the perception that ECSA was the ‘gatekeeper’ of the profession, and the level of transparency that ECSA was expected to uphold should also be required of the VA’s.
Gamede made a strongly worded request to the VAs to desist from being disruptive to the functioning of ECSA, stressing the need for collaboration and clear service level agreements, as this affected the primary constituents of both ECSA and the VAs.
“We cannot have a situation where there are no expectations of the VAs or of ECSA, to the detriment of the registered engineering practitioners and candidate engineers,” said Gamede.
Madonsela stressed that the need for the revision of these frameworks was to align the measure of responsibility of all involved engineering practitioners with the accountability that was required of every professional engineer, and which all engineers understand.
He explained that ECSA had a ‘hard’ mandate, as well as a ‘soft’ mandate.
The ‘hard’ mandate included the legislative operations of ECSA, which are outlined in The Engineering Profession Act No 46 of 2000 (EPA). “The ‘soft’ mandate is one that is not written into the EPA, however, responsible corporate governance would require ECSA’s adherence to issues, such as a clear transformation agenda in the profession and the aligning of ECSA’s mandate with governments visions to mention a few. Our revision of the frameworks is also influenced by this soft mandate,” Madonsela explained.
In the in-depth review of the revised frameworks Advocate Rebaone Gaoraelwe emphasised that the process of public consultation sought to get input from all those who are affected by the revisions, as this allowed for amendments to be made where required in an equitable manner.
“We are not here to defend our recommendations, but rather, to explain them and seek your input, as we work to become a modern and efficient regulator of the profession,” he said.
The consultative process would visit all nine provinces in South Africa, with three sessions scheduled for Gauteng, which had the largest concentration of engineers and VA’s in the country.
The schedule, which started Monday, would conclude in Johannesburg on August 19.