Earlier in January 2014, Stanford Mkhacane, SAICE's President for 2014, and I, represented SAICE in Parliament in Cape Town. SAICE was invited by the Portfolio Committee for Economic Development, to comment on the Infrastructure Development Bill - that Bill that seeks, under the watchful eye of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, to ensure that all components of our economy enjoy maximum benefit from the trillions of Rands aimed at the Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs).
Hope is why most of us have not run off to Australia or the States. But hope is despairing because what is wrong is not being fixed fast enough. We need action - Civilution - which is exactly what the upcoming Civilution Congress is all about.
"I never regretted not growing up rich. I don't wish I were born into a rich family, because then maybe I would not have made myself into something," Stanford Mkhacane, SAICE's President for 2014, says somewhat bashfully. "It would have been nice to have grown up in a world with more opportunities, but perhaps it would not have been fun then. Growing up in a typical platteland environment, if you wanted to swim, you could swim, even if it was with crocodiles." He cannot help but wonder what it would have been like to be born into 'better' circumstances, but this laid-back man accepted his happy lot, which eventually turned into so much more.
Open-access fibre optic infrastructure provider, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), has taken the lead in setting the standard for the installation of dry services on dolomitic land in accordance with SANS 1936-3 (2012).
DFA has compiled a comprehensive set of specifications for fibre optic infrastructure installation and has introduced a focused risk management programme for all DFA installations in dolomitic areas.
IMQS Software has served South African municipalities with asset and infrastructure management software and supporting professional services for more than ten years. Its software combines infrastructure asset information, engineering simulation results and spatial GIS data in a single package. Growing demand for a web-based version of their desktop application has led to the development of the latest release of their software that can be accessed through any web browser and on mobile devices such as iPads. The software was recently deployed at a number of municipalities. This article explores the lessons learnt during the development process.
Engineers are pre-occupied with efficiency. Anyone who has ever been frustrated in a post office or licence renewal centre will have some appreciation of how engineers experience the world most of the time. This probably applies to many other types of people, too, but what makes engineers unique is that they cannot resist the urge to do something about it!
This kind of frustration was eating away at my friend and me, both young South African civil engineers, for the past few years. In our quest for efficiency in our work, we uncovered a piece of Belgian ingenuity that changed our world, and that has the potential to hit the technical CAD market like a bomb!
Sustainable development has been much advocated, but some have seen a clash between its two key goals - sustainability (living within the Earth's fixed environmental limits) and development (everyone's right to develop out of poverty). In South Africa these two have been characterised as the 'Green' and 'Brown' agendas, as in Figure 1. This comes to a head when considering new infrastructure, which is absolutely critical for development, because it must serve social and/or economic needs, and tends to regard some accompanying environmental damage as inevitable.
In September 2013 it was announced that an Aurecon-led consortium had won the contract to develop the Ekurhuleni OR Tambo Aerotropolis in Gauteng. The aerotropolis concept is now mainstream in aviation planning, and there is little doubt that it has brought substantial economic and social benefits to airport owners, as well as local businesses and communities. However, this experience has largely been gained in the airports of Europe and North America. The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis offers a unique opportunity to apply the lessons learnt at these other airports to develop a truly African solution.