It has been almost a year since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, with a key objective being to create jobs, primarily through aggressive infrastructure investment.

Consulting Engineers South Africa’s CEO, Chris Campbell.Photo by Consulting Engineers South Africa

Consulting Engineers South Africa’s CEO, Chris Campbell.Photo by Consulting Engineers South Africa

However, little progress has been made despite many industry bodies putting their hands up to aid with state capacity.

Consulting Engineers South Africa’s CEO, Chris Campbell comments: “Before we raise our hands, perhaps we should be joining our hands. The South African engineering profession is home to countless industry bodies which seem to have somewhat segregated us, causing disintegration. Between CESA, ECSA, SAICE, SABTACO, BBCBE, NSBE, SAIEE and the list of acronyms goes on, South African engineers are operating in siloes – something we have oft-criticised of government departments.” He says that the South African engineering sector should rather make efforts to present a united front, putting aside differences and collaborating towards improved service delivery, economic development, and transformation.

Campbell suggests that a united engineering industry would be more conducive to the provision of equal opportunities, skills development, mentorship, industry transformation, talent retention and sustainability of the profession. “One way of achieving this is through a collaborative forum such as SAFE – the South African Forum for Engineering. SAFE was established some years ago in response to this need for wider collaboration and communication. It became dormant, but perhaps the time has come to revitalise it – or something similar – especially as we aim to unite in support of South Africa’s economic recovery plan.”

He posits that a united industry might also be more appealing to young people, if there is just one association they need to join in order to enjoy the benefits offered by many. “Under one banner, we are capable of providing innovative solutions in support of the national agenda and help deliver the infrastructure our citizens deserve – cost effectively and honestly,” he concludes.