In keynote address at a virtual seminar hosted by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) earlier in June, Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu called on engineers to “patriotically contribute” to the development agenda of South Africa.
She addressed members of the NSBE on the role of local engineers in the execution of the National Water & Sanitation Master Plan, saying the current global challenges, such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, require engineering minds that offer “ground-breaking solutions aimed at accelerating economic recovery”.
As such, Sisulu noted that South Africa needs engineers that will take a lead in realising the country’s vision of new human settlements that provide housing and comfort to South Africa’s people, and that engineers that will help change the spatial orientation of cities and towns.
Addressing the issue of shoddy workmanship, she implored members of the NSBE to shy away from corruption, not sign off on poorly built infrastructure projects and not to give in to pressure to compromise technically-sound decisions.
Speaking on behalf of the engineers, NSBE president Mdu Mlaba said the organisation has noted with interest the drive by the Department of Human Settlements to procure some properties from State-owned entities, such as Eskom and Transnet.
He said NSBE engineers and project managers are ready to partner with the government to convert such buildings into decent and affordable housing for people living in cities.
Mlaba also conveyed the NSBE’s commitment to work with the government as it embarks on finding lasting solutions to water and sanitation challenges in the Emfuleni local municipality.