South Africa needs a Chapter 9-institution, namely an Office of the Engineer-General to hold all involved in infrastructure development and implementation to account, especially in all tiers of government and SoEs. A constitutional oversight occurred when Chapter 9-institutions were established and engineering, which is at the heart of infrastructure delivery, was omitted. The institution of the Engineer-General is a prerequisite if the South African government is to fulfil its mandate. 

The primary purpose of government departments, public entities and local government is to efficiently deliver, operate and maintain infrastructure. However, the shocking truth is that most municipalities, primarily responsible for delivering water, sanitation, refuse collection, roads, electricity, etc., are incapable of doing so! 

Engineering IS the face of service delivery! ONLY engineers can make that happen! 

To establish the state of infrastructure in South Africa, there is the 2017 SAICE Infrastructure Report Card (IRC) for South Africa. The 2017 overall grade was a D, meaning infrastructure is atrisk of failure! This IRC 2017 proves the enormity of the challenge. 

Knowing all this, how can engineers and engineering impact the future outcome?

The establishment of the Engineer-General’s office will ensure:

  • Implementation of the National Development Plan and the Bill of Rights 
  • Infrastructure is delivered for the improved wellbeing of the citizens. The public sector must be accountable regarding infrastructure implementation and service delivery
  • Value for money — tax savings will be realised in infrastructure development 
  • Government and Parliament will be advised on engineering challenges and solutions
  • The engineering profession will be protected from improper interference by politicians, finance, and legal professions, as well as HR 
  • The Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Director-Generals, Deputy Director-Generals, etc. of infrastructure departments should be professionally registered, competent and experienced engineering practitioners. This should apply to all infrastructure-related departments in all tiers of government and SoEs responsible for essential service delivery infrastructure. The answer to “#buildingacapablestate” or #RebuildSA” or “#ProtectSouthAfrica” by Cyril Ramaphosa. 

In conclusion, political survival depends on the engineers, because all election promises are infrastructure-related and can only be delivered by engineers. 


Author: Changing Things SA

#ChangingThingsSA is a societal organisation calling on engineers to rise & change things for the better in the infrastructure development ecosystem. Moreover, they are advocating for African Union’s states to embrace #engineering & #engineers and establish an independent #EngineerGeneral to hold all involved in infrastructure development and implementation to account, especially in all tiers of government and state-owned enterprises.

Picture: Street in Midrand, Johannesburg

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