SAICE was asked by the American Society of Civil Engineers to put forward a South African project for recognition as an International Civil Engineering Landmark. We are delighted to report that our first nomination, the Woodhead Reservoir on Table Mountain, was accorded this honour.
The governing board of the Dutch East India Company resolved to set up a temporary settlement at the foot of Table Mountain and sent Jan van Riebeeck to establish the Company Gardens just below the area where the Platteklip Stream split naturally into two. He diverted it into channels around both sides of the cultivated area, and installed a system of minor furrows for irrigation. The major stream, which he named the "Varsche River" then continued down to the sea where it was the source of drinking water for both the settlement and passing ships.
The primary purpose of government, it is sometimes forgotten, is to provide services to the governed, while giving them a say in the process. In view of this, it is surprising how few examples there are of civil society demanding a restructuring of the local government system in order to better provide these services.
In 1932 when Tom Stewart was contemplating retirement, a young consulting engineer was erecting his brass plate just a few doors away from the doyen's chambers in St Georges Street. This was Ninham Shand, who had graduated from the University of Cape Town with the Gold Medal in 1919 and whose guiding hand would influence the water supply to Cape Town for the next century.
The National Infrastructure Maintenance Strategy (NIMS) was approved by Cabinet in 2006. This Strategy sets overarching policy for sector-based initiatives and describes the framework for a coordinated programme of actions. It is an essential part of government's vision of delivering infrastructure services to all. The simultaneous infrastructure investment and maintenance that will result from this Strategy will not only improve infrastructure performance and underpin the sustainability of services, but will also contribute significantly towards national and local economic growth, and create long-term jobs. Background to it, and progress with its implementation, are described in this article
As a result of the discovery of gold in South Africa in 1886, the City of Johannesburg was founded, resulting in the need for an adequate water supply for the region. To meet this need the Rand Water Board (now Rand Water) was established in 1903. Entwined in the history of the Board and in the development of Johannesburg, is the golden thread of the civil engineering profession. Over the years the profession increasingly became recognised as part of the very fibre of society. Events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which provide unique opportunities for civil engineering practitioners to focus on economies of scale, offer further occasion to grow the culture of civil engineering, thereby generating future growth benefits for all the peoples of Africa
It is quite remarkable how young and relatively inexperienced engineers arrived in this country in the 19th century and established a successful branch of their profession in a then remote and rather backward part of the world without the benefit of a mentor or role model.
A quick analysis of the company's fundamentals reveals that they have established a sound basis for expanding in whatever direction they wish. The group as a whole has a turnover of R1,4 billion and its plant and equipment are valued at more than R250 million, making its private assets among the largest of this kind in South Africa.
Prof Richard Nolan of Harvard University is reported as saying that ''Information Technology is the next corporate disaster waiting to happen'' (Alter 2006). The indications are that as many as 70% of corporate business system investments fail to deliver anything material at all when viewed from a commercial and strategic standpoint (Robertson 2004).
Coaching is a profession that is still in the process of forming in South Africa and it needs to be shaped to suit local requirements. The development, growth and effective use of coaching will be achieved in a partnership between clients and coaches, who create the market together. In the construction industry, executive and performance coaching appears to have been used more widely, and to greater effect, in the US and Europe. The author feels it is time for the industry to engage in an inquiry into the role, problems and possibilities of coaching in the construction industry in South Africa.
Continuing the short series covering various projects undertaken over the last half century or so, as related by Leon (Dick) Dison, herewith articles three and four. The levels of success achieved, or not achieved, in these projects could assist aspirant innovators to select appropriate lines of approach for their particular needs and aspirations.
The PICP project at Wits consisted of six material strata. Starting with the bottom layer and rising sequentially to the top, the strata are: 150 mm of recompacted in situ soil; Typar geotextile membrane manufactured by DuPont and supplied locally by DV Building; 250 mm of 37 mm quarried stone; 100 mm of 24 mm quarried stone; Inbitex membrane supplied by Concor Technicrete; 50 mm of 6,7 mm stone; and finally, 60 mm of rectangular paving blocks rated at 30 MPa which were supplied by Concor Technicrete.
For the first half of my experiential training, I worked at the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) where I was involved in municipal services such as roads and storm water development and maintenance. In the end I spent 18 months with the JRA before I moved to the private sector company Jeffares & Green Consulting Engineers, who took me on permanently and who are now assisting me financially to complete my studies at the Tshwane University of Technology.
Early morning arrivals at the busy Bateman office in Boksburg will often encounter Vladimir and Judith Bortnik at their desks at 5:30 in the morning. Vladimir is a senior civil engineer and Judith is a drawing checker, working in the area of mineral beneficiation. Their extraordinary background starts with their being born on the same day in the same city - 2 July 1936 in Leningrad in the Soviet Union (today St Petersburg in Russia).