Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) would like to dis-pute in the strongest possible terms an article that appeared in the Engineering News of June 26 titled ‘BBBEE requirements compromise quality of consulting services’.
The article, by Gerrit Coetzee, is highly patronising, opinionated and a blatant misrepresentation of facts that can only be attributed to utter ignorance and a mis-guided imagination. Coetzee’s assertion that black economic empowerment (now called broad-based black economic empower-ment) is akin to replacing skilled and experienced white employees with unskilled and inexperienced black employees is entirely fallacious.
Coetzee’s claims of, firstly, a correlation between the BBBEE policy and inferior quality of service and, secondly, that companies that “happen” to be BBBEE-compliant are inherently incompetent would be laughable if they were not so false and prejudicial to a professional services sector that is recognised worldwide. His spurious claims completely disregard the other issues that contribute to a municipality not being able to maintain its infrastructure to an acceptable condition, and squarely puts the blame on companies that “happen” to be BBBEE-com- pliant. Coetzee also incor-rectly implies that municipalities employ consulting engineers based on their BBBEE scores alone.
Coetzee’s claims, fictitious as they are, are most definitely not the experience of Cesa, which is the ‘voice of consulting engineering in South Africa’. Cesa represents for its members a professional body that promotes their joint interests and, because of its standing, provides quality assurance for clients. Over 520 firms employing just over 23 550 staff, who collectively earn a total fee income of R23.4-billion a year, are members of Cesa. Cesa is committed to the principles of sustainability, transformation and the promotion of engineering excellence.
As such, Cesa distances itself from Coetzee’s negative utterances and reaffirms its commitment to BBBEE as a business imperative to ensure that all consulting engineers participate equally in the consulting engineering space.
Cesa questions M-Tech Consulting Engineers’ motives in propagating this false and unfounded message as it is not a member of Cesa, having never applied for membership. Neither has Coetzee approached Cesa to undertake any research with regard to his claims.
Cesa believes that problems with the procurement of professional services is basically the result of cost-based procure-ment policies and has very little to do with BBBEE, which Cesa strongly supports and all intel-ligent persons should do likewise.
Abe Thela, PrEng