In South Africa, as well as the rest of the world, there is tension between societies that "have" and those that "don't have". The tension may be fuelled by many different agendas, but at the heart of this tension the developed societies that "have" face the issue of ageing, under-performing and / or inefficient infrastructure. The societies that "don't have" require infrastructure to create opportunity and improve living standards.
The author wishes to state that all views in this article are entirely his private views, and do not reflect the views of SAICE, nor those of the editor of this publication. These views also do not represent those of the University of Cape Town.
One hundred years ago this year, South Africa was established by an Act of Union. That Act gave us the shape and the texture that defined us as a nation. And it is wonderful that, despite all the exclusions and discriminations since May 1910, we have survived intact as a state and still live within those same, unchanged borders. While articles in the daily press earlier this year discussed political and governance aspects of how far we have travelled as a nation over the last 100 years, Kevin Wall in this article reflects on infrastructure development and service delivery over the last century.
In an effort to improve tourism in the eastern Free State, and to simultaneously provide employment opportunities in one of the poorest regions in South Africa, the Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport initiated a project for the upgrading of the Monontsha Pass (Provincial Road S1579) with an initial budget of R10,5 million allocated for Phase 1.
Viewed as a catalyst for social and economic growth in the region, and a model to demonstrate successful development of previously disadvantaged communities, the Bridge City project outside Durban is a unique development in the South African and African context. Holistic planning ensures that Bridge City's key residential, commercial and retail developments will be served by an inter-modal transport hub, including a railway station underneath the town's shopping centre, thereby minimising the need for vehicle transport, and creating significant cost efficiencies.
eThekwini Water and Sanitation's Western Aqueduct Project - the largest water project of this nature ever commissioned in South Africa, with a value of R950 million, is progressing on schedule, despite challenges such as a shortage of skilled labourers (welders in particular), inclement weather, and a lack of building sand.
Phase One of the project, which employs around 150 people, is nearing the end of construction in Cato Ridge, and construction for Phase Two is expected to commence in early 2011.
At a site in Kraaifontein, in the Cape Town Metropole, just off the N1, is the first integrated waste management facility of its kind in South Africa. It comprises a refuse transfer station, a compaction hall, container handling operations, garden refuse chipping facilities, materials recovery facility, domestic recycling centre and a public drop-off. It also contains a workshop, wash bay, diesel storage, security facilities, entrance building and weighbridges. Provision has also been made for a future "resource park" and for the accommodation of future "alternative technologies", such as waste to energy.
Much of South Africa is water-stressed, leading the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) to initiate studies that will help the country reconcile its water needs with its water resources. In the Northern Region of the country, SRK Consulting is assisting with one such reconciliation study, which includes assessing the vital importance of ground water.
A milestone was reached on the Koeberg interchange in Cape Town at the end of May 2010 as ramp A was opened to the public, giving direct access from the N1 incoming to the M5. At the intersection of the N1 and the M5 highways, the Koeberg interchange experiences some of Cape Town's heaviest traffic with 200 000 vehicles passing through the network every day. Ramp B, which takes traffic from the M5 onto the N1 highway will be completed by November 2011.
Efficient removal of midwater with new locally designed Variable Height Extraction Valve
Rand Technical Services becomes sole distributor for EEC in South Africa
Illegal water users to be prosecuted
Another first for ITT Water & Wastewater
MSA introduces advanced gas detector to SA market
C&CI publications provide plastering guidelines
Infraset introduces Eco Shield - an Agrément SA-approved roof insulator
One death too many
Chryso products repair concrete floor disaster
Civil Designer 2011 announced
Piling stalwart Nico Maas retires
New CEO at Bigen Africa
Despite the fact that a large amount of technical and legislative information on good house construction practices (i.e. the correct application of materials and technologies, as well as the minimum standard requirements) is available, unacceptable construction quality is apparent throughout the entire spectrum of housing (i.e. from low to high income). The negative social impacts of this situation have received the attention of the media.
Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA ) is leading the call for a collaborative and sustainable approach in which the private sector supports government in enhancing service delivery at all levels so as to ensure the economic wellbeing of all business enterprises and to improve the quality of life for all.
Earlier this year the University of Johannesburg and Group Five announced the first national competition for excellent women in engineering and technology, initiated by WiEBE (Women in Engineering and the Built Environment), and the winners (see below) were recently announced.