Health: Public Health and safety at risk
Recent Gauteng Business News
Consulting Engineers South Africa’s (CESA) CEO, Graham Pirie has added his organisation to the list of Associations voicing ever growing concerns surrounding the controversial Built Environment Professions Bill which has already been approved by the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Public Works for the creation of a ‘super council’ namely the South African Council for Built Environment Professions (SACBEP).
Pirie states SACBEP utilizing a ‘tick box’ system of professional registration will eliminate the current system of peer evaluation with the possibility of the person carrying out the registrations not being a professional engineer. He strongly believes that this will lead to the lowering of standards and thus threaten public health and safety. In addition to this professional engineers in South Africa will lose their current international recognition, acquired through the international Engineers Mobility Forum driven locally by ECSA. This will adversely affect the export of South African engineering services into the international market and ultimately have an adverse impact on the local economy. SACBEP will also be responsible for the management and allocation of fees and these may not find there way to ensuring that the focus remains on registration of as many engineers as possible. He also fears that this will negatively impact young engineers leading to them leaving the country at a time when we cannot afford to lose them.
He goes on to state that this is not about defending territory, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) has a responsibility to look after the health and safety of the South African population, preventing incidents that we have recently experienced with roofs caving in during construction. He believes that the public was not adequately consulted about this new bill. He asks the question with this new Bill in place who will now assume responsibility for failures?
The new bill was introduced as it was believed that the construction industry was not transforming and that the various associations were perceived as gate keepers but Pirie contends that this is entirely untrue. CESA carries out a bi-annual Management Information Survey (MIS) and this has shown that the industry is embracing transformation. Transformation is one of the areas that is measured and the results published on the CESA website (www.cesa.co.za
CESA has been engaging with all affected parties including Minister of Public Works, Minister Doidge, as well as other industry bodies including the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA); South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE); the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS); the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) as well as the Office of the Presidency.
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