At the 2009 Members' Function, held on 19 February in Bryanston, Prof Elsabé Kearsley was inaugurated as SAICE's 107th president. She is only the second lady to be inaugurated as president of the Institution. The event was a festive occasion with members, past presidents, and a sizeable contingent of students from the various local tertiary institutions attending.
The environment that we live and operate in has changed dramatically over the last few decades. In my address I intend to highlight some of these changes and give an indication of what I believe we need to do to ensure that SAICE retains the leading role that it has been fulfilling for more than a century.
Working at a university I am constantly reminded of the fact that the youth of today - the engineering professionals of tomorrow - have a frame of reference that is completely different to that of previous generations.
The year 2008 saw the IStructE celebrating its centenary. The Joint Structural Division of SAICE and IStructE (JSD) joined in these celebrations in South Africa.The annual banquet has been the JSD's premier social event for many years. The 2008 function was extra special, though, as our guests of honour were the 2008 president of IStructE, Sarah Buck, and the Chief Executive, Keith Eaton (since retired), and their spouses. Other VIPs who joined us were representatives of the American Society of Civil Engineers, SAICE's president Johan de Koker and Ronnie Khoza from the CIDB (Construction Industry Development Board).
The records started with the greatest number of entries that the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) had ever received - about 60% more. Thismeant a far more difficult judging process, especially in light of the fact that, despite the exceptionally high quality of entries, no obvious winner jumped out at the judges as has often happened before.
There is a general need for industry to be informed about research carried out at academic institutions. This article therefore presents some of the research projects in structural engineering at Stellenbosch University.
Mnjoli Dam (formerly Fairview Dam) is located on the Mbuluzi River in Swaziland and has a capacity of 130 Mm3. The 42 m high 1 500 m long earthfill embankment was designed by Knight Piésold Consultants and constructed in the early 1980s on behalf of RSSC (Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation) in association with the Government of Swaziland.
Specialist geotechnical engineering contractor Esor Ltd is involved in several important bridge contracts for the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL), including a challenging contract on the western extension of the N17 linking Nasrec Road to the Soweto Highway, where a unique solution had to be found.
Following the sudden inrush of water into the West Driefontein mine in October 1968, an analysis based on the Theis non-equilibrium approach was carried out to determine the transmissivity and storativity of the dolomitic formations of the Bank Compartment which has an exposed areal extent of 156 km2 and a thickness of about 1000 m. Details of the analysis are given in the paper and the predicted response of the water table is compared with that obtained in the subsequent dewatering operations in the compartment which revealed several geologic inhomogeneities.
The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and the Business Trust, through its support programme to the EPWP, identified several shortcomings in the current delivery system relating to the under-expenditure of government departments and municipalities, and capacity constraints in the public sector. These bodies have partly attributed the capacity problems to the predominance of small contracts which results from :
the project approach whereby, for each and every project, consultants are appointed, briefed, directed and overseen by a gradually disappearing cadre of skilled staff
unbundling strategies aimed at reducing the size of contracts in order to target small or local enterprises
Concluding the short series covering various projects undertaken over the last half century or so, as related by Leon (Dick) Dison, herewith the final two articles. The levels of success achieved, or not achieved, in these projects could assist aspirantinnovators to select appropriate lines of approach for their particular needs and aspirations.