Sep 04, 2012
No engineering shortage until infrastructure plan materialisesBack
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Consulting|Consulting Engineers South Africa|PROJECT|Projects|Africa|Germany|Japan|South Africa|United Kingdom|United States|Contracting|Consulting Engineers|Graham Pirie|Infrastructure|Piri|South Africa
© Reuse this
“There is not a shortage of engineers, the main reason for this is that 60% of our work comes from the public sector, which is not firing on all cylinders,” he told Engineering News Online.
But Pirie said that action would be needed to step up skills development to deliver on South Africa’s planned infrastructure investments of R3.2-trillion by 2020.
While South Africa was losing fewer engineers to other countries as developed economies slowed down, he stated that the country would have to deal with supply-side issues and policy instability to ensure it had enough qualified people to deliver the new build projects going forward.
In South Africa, there is currently one engineer for every 3 100 people, compared to one engineer for every 200 people in Germany and one for every 310 persons in the UK, the US and Japan.
“This must change,” Pirie noted.
The head of Cesa attributed the slow start of public sector projects in South Africa to long project lead times and the government’s shortage of technical capacity.
“The public sector is faced with severe capacity constraints…they do not have sufficient qualified people with experience to handle the infrastructure delivery process and this is particularly problematic at local authority level.”
Cesa’s latest biannual economic and capacity analysis, for January to June 2012 period, showed that the local construction industry was running below capacity and that only about 80% of the country’s consulting engineers were used on projects.
The survey found that confidence in the consulting engineering sector generally lagged business sentiment, which deteriorated again in the second quarter after improving in the first quarter of 2012. This was mainly owing to growing concerns over the global economy and the widespread downward revision of South Africa’s growth outlook.
Project postponements and delays also affected confidence in the contracting fraternity, with civil contractors’ confidence remaining well below levels experienced between 2005 and 2008.
Pirie stated that public–private partnerships were central to delivering on projects, as the private sector operated below capacity, while the public sector lacked sufficient capacity.
He commended the National Planning Commission and the National Development Plan 2030. “We are very good at planning in this place, but we are not good at delivery.”
Pirie also warned that the slow implementation of projects was warding off foreign companies.
“Our members are frustrated, their businesses are not doing so well in South Africa post 2010 and they are looking north of our border, saying it is easier to work in the rest of Africa,” Pirie indicated.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Updated 2 hours 43 minutes ago South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) group corporate services executive Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo stressed on Thursday that South Africa currently had only one Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity, the IRP 2010, and that the IRP Update...
Updated 4 hours ago South Africans needed to become more entrepreneurial and create their own jobs, instead of expecting government to create jobs or rely on private-sector employment. “We need to become masters of our own destinies,” Small Business Development Deputy Minister Elizabeth...
Updated 4 hours ago Plans to increase gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) to 1.5% of gross domestic product by 2019 are yet to be formally adopted, despite the target being incorporated in the draft strategic plan of the Department of Science and Technology...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
Integrated energy and chemical company Sasol has partnered with Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) professor and founder and CEO of PanAvest Partnership Dr Douglas Boateng to publish a series of books on executive supply chain management aimed at...
The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) 2014 Living Planet Index (LPI) indicates that there has been a 52% decline in vertebrate species since 1970. The Index tracked the trends of 10 000 discrete populations of over 3000 vertebrate species between 1970 and 2010.
Rwanda has joined a number of East African countries seeking to import electricity from Ethiopia as its demand grows. After it became apparent several generation project it is implementing will not come on stream early enough, now plans to import 400 MW from Ethiopia...
Metrorail’s first new passenger train will arrive in November next year, says Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) CEO Lucky Montana. “Next year we will be able to put our hands around the infrastructure and equipment we have been talking about for so long.”
The Competition Commission has launched an investigation into what it says are “price fixing, market division and collusive tendering in the market for the manufacture and supply of automotive components to original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs, or vehicle...