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Issue 27 - October 2018
 
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What`s inside

01 Editors Note
02 ECSA plays its part in celebrating the life of Mandela
03 Equal recognition of women & men in the engineering sector is paramount to transformation
04 Young female engineer rises above the rest
05 Voluntary Associations engaged on the VA and CPD Frameworks
06 Legal investigation process and principles laid down at the investigation workshop
07 ECSA fulfils its accreditation mandate

 
 
 
 

 


 

Dear Reader

 
 
 
 

The second quarter of the year waves goodbye to the cold winter season and welcomes a new dawn and possibilities as spring kicks in.

This quarter also saw the country celebrate the life of two struggle stalwarts namely the first democratic President, Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. Under the theme “Be the legacy”, the Mandela centenary was celebrated. Mandela emulated the values of selflessness, peace, unity and fought for justice and the equality of all.

The country also celebrated the centenary of one of the great daughters of the African soil Mama Albertina Sisulu, who dedicated her life to fight for the emancipation of women and the liberation of South Africa. In the month of August South Africa remembered the sacrifices women such as Albertina Sisulu made to build a democratic society which respects and celebrates the crucial role women play in all walks of life.

This issue features the opinion piece by the Chief Executive Officer of ECSA Mr Sipho Madonsela which calls for greater recognition of woman in the sector. The great strides women make in this sector is covered in a feature article on a young female professional engineer. The issue covers the VA and CPD workshop as well as the investigator workshops that took place in August and September.

Lastly in September ECSA undertook its accreditation visits to various institutions of higher learning across the country and participated in the UNESCO Africa Engineering Week, articles on these are features in the issue.

Enjoy the read.
Millicent Kabwe

 

ECSAStatue of Nelson Mandela in the Union Buildings grounds, Pretoria.

 

ECSA plays its part in celebrating the life of Mandela

 
 
 

South Africa in the month of July celebrated the life of a struggle stalwart Nelson Mandela, who fought tirelessly for the freedom and equal treatment of all people regardless of race, gender or social class.

Former President Nelson Mandela would have turned 100 years this year and in marking this milestone South Africa under the theme: “Be the legacy”, was provided with a unique opportunity to reflect on his life and the foundation he left for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

To honour his centenary and the legacy, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) handed a gift of appreciation to the 17 universities across the country that have various engineering programmes accredited. This gift was for the faculties of engineering as our contribution to the budding engineering professionals of the future. Nelson Mandela valued education and life - long learning and one of his famous quotes: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” continues to live on and has become a true testament to many.

His legacy lives on in our commitment to ensure a just and fair society for all, including the rights to dignity and freedom of expression, freedom of trade and ensuring excellence in the execution of work done. ECSA commits to this very notion of excellence and pledges to ensuring engineering excellence and transforming the nation.

Mashudu Tshifura

 
 

ECSAMr Sipho Madonsela, Chief Executive Officer, Engineering Council of South Africa

 

Equal recognition of women and men in the engineering sector is paramount to transformation in South Africa
 
 
 
 

In 2017 Naadiya Moosajee, co-founder of WomEng, a South African social enterprise now operating in 13 countries, shared that only 11% of all engineers globally are female. This to some degree has even led to researchers accounting the low number of female engineers in the sector to the lack of recognition of females. In an article titled “An Engineer's View: 'My Experience as a Female Engineering Student” Marietjie M Jansen van Rensburg notes that the discrimination of women engineers is more subtle now with less outright belief that men are better than woman.

In her article she said, “Today, the female engineering student doesn’t experience sexism in obvious, outright ways, but rather through subtle acts and role divisions. For example, in a group project where taking down minutes is mandatory, you will often see female students being given the role, sometimes at the expense of doing more technical work”.

The role of women in the engineering sector is no different from that of a male. Both sexes contribute to the economy of the country in the same way through developing infrastructure that provides basic services such as energy; water and food security; transport and infrastructure; communication; and access to education and healthcare. Furthermore, both sexes possess the same capabilities that will bring change to the country. It seems rather pedantic for one in 2018, -24 years past the democratic dispensation and 42 years since the women of 1976 marched to the union building-, to raise issues of better parity between sexes in any field let alone those that are male dominated. However, it also makes one seem ignorant when the issues of gender equality particularly in the engineering sector are not raised or even discussed so as to ensure that even though the sector is male dominated, that each individual operating within it receives equal recognition.

In pursuit of transforming the sector and changing the landscape to ensure that more woman are part of this sector, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) established the Engenius programme to highlight the importance of the engineering field among primary and high school learners, especially from grade 10 onwards. The programme strives to promote the engineering profession nationally to over 20 000 primary and high school learners annually, through its core message: ‘Engineering Makes It Happen’. In the previous financial year this programme reached over 30 000 learners through exhibitions and school visits especially those from far flung areas seeking to unearth STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) talent from women.

Furthermore, over the years the number of registered candidate females has increased, in 2013 there were 1938, 2014 there were 2492 and by end of the 2017/18 financial year 5879 female candidates were registered with ECSA thus reflecting a 203% increase over the five year period. The male counterparts in the 2013/14 financial year recorded 7313 registered candidate engineers and by 2017/18 the number increased to 16 890 and reflecting 131% increase. Although the number of male candidate engineers have increased over the years, greater strides with the number of female candidates have been made.

In recognition of these great strides towards the transformation of the engineering sector it is time for women to be equally recognised in this field, to be celebrated for their achievements when they hold leadership positions in the industry, to be given accolades when they become part and win the international design competitions not because they are women but because they are engineers. As South Africa marks the annual commemoration of Women’s Day on 09 August, let us all celebrate the engineering sector and the women who work tirelessly to contribute to it.

Sipho Madonsela
CEO of Engineering Council of South Africa

 

ECSAMs Cyndhu Sriram, female electrical engineer at ABB

 

Young female engineer rises above the rest
 
 
 
 

In a month where South Africa celebrated the role that former president Nelson Mandela played, in ensuring the equality of all and recognition of the contribution of females in the South African Economy, twenty-five-year-old Cyndhu Sriram, female electrical engineer at ABB (Asea Brown Boveri), is flying the female flag high and rising above the rest.

Sriram won the coveted first place at the Gen X Theatre Africa programme, where she competed against 40 students employed in engineering consultancies and research institutions throughout Africa. The Gen X Theatre Africa is an annual student and young professionals Corporate Social Investment, initiative that affords students the opportunity to present their papers to an international audience and is part of the Power Gen and DistribuTECH Conference. This year the programme was hosted by South Africa and was held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 17 to 18 July 2018.

Sriram presented on the topic “Economic Dispatch Tracking”, which was aimed at addressing the National Control at Eskom (SOC). National Control is responsible for managing the national grid and ensuring that supply of power always meets the demand of power on a national level. The project was developed by a team of four engineers, of which Cyndhu Sriram was a lead member. The project sought to discover the challenges that hinder the National control from managing the national grid in an efficient and effective manner. This included finding out factors and costs associated with not being able to dispatch energy in the most economical way possible. By doing this, problems with the national grid could be identified and measures can be taken to solve these problems.

Sriram explained that the project took the team four months to complete and has already been implemented. “The project has already been implemented and is running smoothly, providing useful results and highlighting some of challenges experienced in managing the national grid", explained Sriram. She elaborated that the project is progressing and being sustained by other young professionals. She added her view on winning at the GEN X Theatre saying, "This will definitely dispel the idea that engineering is a male dominated field and I hope this will inspire other women to take advantage of the career opportunities afforded to them’’. As part of her first prize, Sriram has been awarded an opportunity to participate at the European Utility Week, Initiate! Young Talent Programme, in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday, 7 November 2018 to present on the topic “The African Perspective”.

Mashudu Tshifura

 

ECSAMembers of Voluntary Associations at the VA and CPD Framework Workshop

 

Voluntary Associations engaged on the VA and CPD Frameworks
 
 
 
 

The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) on Thursday, 02 August 2018, met with the Voluntary Associations at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre with the aim to discuss the revised Voluntary Associations (VA`s) Recognition and Continued Professional Development (CPD) Frameworks.

The first leg of the workshop which was attended by a great number of VA`s sought to engage, apprise and foster better working relationships with all members of the associations.

Addressing the members of VA`s, the CEO of ECSA Mr Sipho Madonsela said the purpose of this workshop goes beyond sharing with members the implementation of the gazetted frameworks; as to ensure that VA`s understand the newly refined processes, but the workshop is also to solicit inputs from the VA members and to applaud them for their ability to keep the VA`s sustainable. Presenting the revised CPD rules and framework Mr Edmund Nxumalo, Executive of Research, Policy and Standards at ECSA, said the revised and approved rules and framework stipulates that the ECSA Council will be the sole authority in accrediting, monitoring, and validating the CPD activities and providers.

Mr Nxumalo added that this will result in ECSA developing an accreditation policy framework that will be followed by universities and VA`s to verify CPD providers and validate activities. Furthermore, ECSA will also develop a policy for auditing and monitoring of VA`s and universities. Mr Christopher Tsatsawane, Strategic Services Executive at ECSA presented the new framework for VA`s that provided the rules and processes to follow towards recognition. This framework requires that all the VA`s re-apply in accordance with the prescriptions of the new framework and if the VA complies with the requirements, Council may recognise that VA and issue it with a certificate of recognition which should be displayed in a prominent place at the VA ‘s Head Office.

Once a VA is recognised, its recognition is valid for a period of five years. Once the recognition has expired, the VA should renew its recognition. Mr Tsatsawane said under the new framework ECSA commits to equipping the VA`s to enable them to positively contribute to the achievement of the set objectives, partner with them in the development of alternatives and identification of preferred solutions, work directly with them throughout the process to ensure that their concerns and needs are considered as well as to obtain feedback from the VA`s on all relevant issues relating to them.

Concluding the workshop, Mr Cyril Gamede President of ECSA who was humbled by the manner in which the workshop was conducted said, “one of the key themes that came out strongly today was we need to ensure that there is equity in participation without the loss of the quality and in so doing improving the sector in which we operate in”. The second phase of this workshop to appraise the remaining VA`s who were not consulted in the first one will take place later in the year. This forms part of the Council’s efforts to continuously ensure that its stakeholders are well informed.

Mbalenhle Dlamini

 

ECSAAdvocate Gert Swanepoel, Manager for Legal Business Unit, Engineering Council of South Africa

 

Legal investigation process and principles laid down at the investigation workshop
 
 
 
 

In a bid to ensure the engineering sector remains accountable to the public, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) on Wednesday, 05 September 2018, held an investigator training workshop in Cape Town to refresh the memory of registered persons on the investigation process that an investigator would undertake which includes: testifying as an expert witness at a disciplinary hearing and compiling investigation reports. The training also addressed the role of the Administration, the Investigating Committee and the Disciplinary Tribunal.

The workshop sought to certify that registered persons in the execution of their engineering work apply their knowledge and skill in the interest of the public and the environment, execute their work with integrity and in accordance with generally accepted norms and professional conduct, respect the interests of the public and honour the standing of the profession.

Furthermore, the training workshop aimed at encouraging registered persons to strive to improve their professional skills and those of their subordinates, to refrain from prejudicing health and safety as well as to promote excellence in the engineering profession.

Presenting on the mandate of the Investigation Committee, Adv. Gert Swanepoel, said the existence of the committee is informed by Section 14 (g) of the Engineering Profession Act (EPA): which notes that, “Council may, in addition to other powers in this Act, take any steps it considers necessary for the protection of the public in their dealings with registered persons for the maintenance of the integrity, and the enhancement of the status of the engineering profession “. Furtheremore, Section (17) (a) of the EPA states that: “The Council may establish any committee, including an investigating committee, to assist it in the performance of its functions and may appoint any person as a member of that committee.”

The execution of this legislative imperative according to Adv. Swanepoel lies squarely on the lap of ECSA’s Investigations committee (IC), supported by the Legal Services Unit as a statutory function. In his presentation Adv. Swanepoel highlighted the strides achieved by the committee in managing to reduce the backlog of cases from 199 open cases in 2017 to 37 open cases in 2018. The cases brought forward have also decreased from 175 in 2016 to 34 in 2017. This is a reflection of the work of the committee together with the registered persons through their cooperation with the processes.

The investigation process is also bound by principles that need to be upheld and in explaining these, Mr Siphiwe Madondo said in order for a good report to be released proper application of technical principles, suitable application of principles of natural justice including inter alia during investigation, both the positive and negative aspects of the investigation need to be provided in order to enable the Pro forma to direct his case/evidence accordingly and act only on the basis of logically probative evidence.

Most importantly Mr Madondo said the investigation needs to be conducted by an investigator who has sufficient expertise to understand the issues being investigated and needs to disclose any interest in order to ensure that the results of the investigation are fair.

The last presentation of the day was delivered by Mr Tony Cooksey who provided the practical aspects of the investigation process. Thoroughly beneficial to many, ECSA will be conducting this workshop in other provinces in months to come.

Mbalenhle Dlamini

 

ECSAInternational Engineering Alliance and Engineering Council of South Africa Accreditation Visit Delegates

 

ECSA fulfils its accreditation mandate
 
 
 
 

One of the core mandates of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) is to accredit engineering programmes offered at institutions of higher learning. These programmes need to meet a criteria set by the Council to ensure that an individual can meet the requirements for candidate or professional registration.

ECSA in partnership with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) in terms of the Engineering Profession Act 2000 have been given this mandate to accredit engineering programmes offered by South African higher education providers; to establish international educational recognition agreements; and to evaluate qualifications that are neither accredited nor recognised by ECSA. In addition, ECSA promotes the quality of engineering education programmes and policies and practices to increase the number of graduates to meet national needs.

In carrying out this mandate ECSA on Sunday, 09 September 2018, kicked off accreditation visits at the Durban University of Technology`s (DUT) Engineering and Built Environment Faculty at the Pietermaritzburg Campus.

The visit sought to determine whether the qualifications offered at the University are aligned to international standards. This was done through conducting interviews with the students and employees, conducting site visits on campus and reviewing the documents within the faculty in order to assess whether the content offered is eligible to be recognised internationally. Speaking on behalf of DUT was Professor Theo Andrew who is the Executive Dean of the Engineering and Built Environment Faculty. Professor Andrew said, “we are here to support the council and would expect the council to do a critical review of the programmes offered at DUT in order ensure continuous improvement”.

The visit was officiated by Mr Jones Moloisane and Dr Keith Jacobs who is the Vice President of ECSA and also the Executive Committee Chair of the International Engineering Technicians which is one of the agreements of the International Engineering Agreements (IEA) established for an international benchmark competence standard for individuals practicing as a fully qualified engineering technicians.

In his opening address to assessors and reviewer’s Dr Keith said, the visit is not only conducted to satisfy the international standards but also for the betterment of the engineering sector in South Africa. Furthermore, Dr Keith said, this is the first visit where the President, Vice President and six council members from ECSA are actively involved in this particular process and thereby marking the importance and significance of it. To enhance the credibility of the visits international visitors from Taiwan, New Zealand and Canada joined in the process to ensure that the processes and procedures undertaken are in line with the policies of the Council.

These visits were conducted from 09 – 14 September 2018 at various universities across the country. The visits are conducted every five years by ECSA who is a member of the IEA, which comprises members from 36 jurisdictions within 27 countries, across seven international agreements. These international agreements govern the recognition of engineering educational qualifications and professional competence.

Mbalenhle Dlamini


Thank you for reading...until next time:

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