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)
Other Construction News
Updated 2 hours 19 minutes ago The “robust” inverse relationship between the rate of unemployment and housing prices continues to confirm that the average price of homes is largely driven by the performance of the local economy, the latest ‘Rode’s Report on the South African Property Market’ has...
Phase 3 construction of the Maclear Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) upgrade project, in the Eastern Cape’s Joe Gqabi district municipality, will start in June this year, says South African black-owned engineering firm Gibb, This phase will include the construction...
Updated 1 hour 20 minutes ago Transport Minister Dipuo Peters on Tuesday called for answers into the cause of the train crash in Johannesburg that killed a woman Metrorail employee. "As government... we need PRASA to give answers as to how a moving train can crash into a stationary one," she told...
Updated 1 hour 41 minutes ago Global stainless steel melt shop production increased by 8.3% year-on-year, to 41.7-millions tonnes in 2014, the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) revealed on Tuesday. Output had increased in all regions except for Central and Eastern Europe, where output...
Updated 2 hours 18 minutes ago The “robust” inverse relationship between the rate of unemployment and housing prices continues to confirm that the average price of homes is largely driven by the performance of the local economy, the latest ‘Rode’s Report on the South African Property Market’ has...
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
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.