"There is a human resource crisis in care that is driven partly by the government's tolerance of incompetent staff." The South African Health Review 2016 published a report on the dismal state (pun intended) of health care in the public sector, particularly on government's inability to attract competent healthcare professionals to work in public healthcare facilities. The sector has 100 000 vacant posts, while government is spending R1.5 billion on hiring temporary agency nurses. The inferences are vexing - but another time.The report is scathing and makes no bones about incompetency, lack of ethics, shocking governance, irregular expenditure, maladministration, unaccountability, inability to make decisions, poor systems and structures, and pitiable leadership. For a moment I thought I was perusing a public sector infrastructure report. And while all this pervades the fabric of the public health sector, the proletariat are called upon to eat cake - our population is getting fatter, AIDS-related diseases are responsible for a third of deaths,and more people are suffering from hypertension.
Aveng Ground Engineering's expertise with micro-pile installation is well established in Southern Africa on sites where collapsing soils are encountered, and where restricted headroom and limited access pose further challenges.
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to deliver the 62nd Snape Memorial Lecture. This will be a Snape Lecture with a difference, though, as I'm going to take a more personal and reflective line, sketching some of my own road as a civil engineer over the last four and a half decades, and drawing some lessons from that for the profession and the industry going forward. I am doing this, firstly, because I am close to retirement and have a lot to share, and secondly, because personal reflections are often very useful lenses in which to see reality and convey it to others. I hope you will not find the personal focus self-laudatory - there is absolutely no intention of that.
With the need that railroads and transits have for sustainable service delivery, there is an ever-increasing demand to improve transportation efficiency, the challenge being to determine and understand the 'state of good repair' of a rail or transit system in real-time or near real-time. Prioritising track maintenance before conditions cause vehicle damage or derailments, and balancing the risk between operations, safety and maintenance cost, are fundamental to delivering a world-class transportation service. Railroads throughout the world are turning to new technologies to optimise track maintenance planning. This includes the use of revenue service vehicles equipped with sensors that quantify conditions and automatically report the location and severity of potential and functional failures to maintenance managers and engineers. This article gives a broad overview of how railroads and transits in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia utilise vehicle/track interaction diagnostic equipment to determine the 'state of good repair'.
The island of St Helena is a British territory located in the Atlantic ocean, 2 900 km from South America, 1 800 km due west of Angola and approximately 1 600 km south of the equator. Because of its remote location, access to the island over the years has always been difficult, involving six day voyages there and back from Cape Town on the RMS St Helena. Since she was built in 1989, the vessel has been transporting passengers and supplies to the island. Development of the island's port infrastructure facilities was under consideration for a number of years, and when a contract to design, construct and operate a new international airport on the island was awarded to a Basil Read-led consortium in 2011, the design process for these marine facilities in Rupert's Bay was initiated. A summary of this process and the unique challenges faced during the course of this project are discussed in this article.
The Stefanutti Stocks Axsys Joint Venture (SSA JV) has overcome a number of technical challenges at the Maydon Wharf Reconstruction Project in the Durban harbour. In a previous article, titled "Müller Verpress Piling: A First for South Africa" (Civil Engineering, July 2015, pp 54-60), the use of Müller Verpress Pile Anchors on the Maydon Wharf project was discussed. However, one of the greatest challenges on the project was not necessarily the piling works, but rather the construction of a submerged cope beam in the harsh marine environment, which is the focus of this article.
The Saldanha-Northern Cape development corridor has been targeted for investment as one of the strategic integrated projects (SIP 5) identified in the National Infrastructure Plan of 2012. The area has an inherent competitive advantage due to its location in relation to the West African gas fields, and this has led to the establishment of the Saldanha Bay IDZ focusing on the development of an oil and gas services and marine repair cluster. To support this, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has undertaken to lengthen the existing General Maintenance Quay (GMQ) by 40 m, increasing the length of the quay from 107 m to 147 m, and to upgrade the existing Rock Quay located approximately 80 m to the north of the GMQ. The upgrades to the Rock Quay will include extending the quay southwards to close the gap between the two existing quays to create one continuous length of quay. With the proposed extensions the usable quay length will increase from the current 107 m to approximately 300 m, which complements and is in line with TNPA's Port Development Framework Plan and its Land Use Plan. It also gives effect to the provisions of the Ports Act, namely to improve the productive use of port infrastructure, and to obtain optimum value from existing infrastructure.The upgrade design is described in this article.
The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) required a new administration building at the Port of Ngqura to house existing staff and to allow for growth and expansion over the next 50 years. Staff currently occupy the temporary offices which were used by the project team during the construction of the Port of Ngqura, but space is extremely limited. The Eastern Cape Infrastructure Joint Venture (ECIJV) and WBHO were commissioned respectively as consultants and contractors to plan and construct the new building.
The construction of the Cockburn Lighthouse towards the end of the nineteenth century contributed hugely to the safe passage of ships visiting the harbour of Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) in Mozambique. At the time, the construction of this lighthouse seemed virtually impossible,due to the relative scarcity of appropriate engineering equipment locally, combined with notoriously rough seas and the frequent exposure of the proposed lighthouse location to severe storms. A lighthouse was direly needed at the dangerous entrance to the Lourenço Marques bay (between 1894 and 1900 ten ships and their crews had been wrecked in this stretch of sea). The British Admiralty had started surveying the east coast of Africa in 1822 already, and this survey included the entrance to the bay of Lourenço Marques (later complemented by a Portuguese Navy survey). Various sandbanks were identified at the entrance to the bay, and these were named after British Navy officers who had taken part in the survey. The largest of these sandbanks was named Cockburn. It was approximately triangularly shaped, with two south vertices on the islands of Inhaca and Elephants, and a very dangerous north vertex marked by a seven-ton buoy. Between these dangerous sandbanks a number of channels, varying in depths between 6.4 m and 7.3 m, allowed access to the 37 km long bay of Lourenço Marques which, if properly buoyed, would allow ships to navigate in safety without the risk of running aground on sandbanks during low tides.
It is a mere 10 km, as the crow flies, from the insignificant, abandoned railway siding of Boscobello to the original, disused railway tunnel at Langsnek. Along this short, extraordinary tract in northern Natal there remain relics of the early railways, and of the wars between the two main groups of European settlers. Many of the traces are difficult to spot, and modern travellers, rushing between Newcastle and Volksrust, brush past these two landmarks, largely unaware of the echoes of rich history that rang and still ring out in this rugged, lovely setting. Lunging up, as it were, between the two former independent Afrikaner republics, the narrow corridor lies between the escarpment mountains to the west and the Buffalo River to the east. On the heights of the true right bank of the river, the railway runs, and the wars were fought. We (the BERRT group, a small band of mostly elderly engineers) visited this area on a sunny weekend during September 2015, when the cawing of the Cape crows echoedin the kloofs, which were covered in flowering black wattle. We came to probe, and were pleased to find, from our admittedly narrow viewpoint, more than we originally sought: many traces of railway and military archaeology. This is our account.
This article is the last in a three-part series based on the author's conviction that engineers get things done. Parts 1 and 2 (published respectively in the January/February and March 2016 editions of Civil Engineering) expanded on what engineers actually do, on their initial training and experience, on engineering within political and economic climates, and on engineers' capacity to develop and implement plans. This thought line is concluded in Part 3, and solutions are suggested for the issues that have been raised.
Mistakes that construction professionals make when specifying, ordering and receiving concrete can have far-reaching strength and performance effects on houses and other structures built by them. It is very important that project managers, on-site contractors, and everyone involved in ordering and buying concrete, familiarise themselves with the right processes and procedures when working with the most important building material. There are hundreds of different types of readymix available on the market for use in different applications. It is, however, important to remember that many different mix designs can be supplied to make allowance for workability, and that many other factors can affect the success of concrete on site. The relationship between the buyer/user and the professional readymix company therefore needs to be accurate and precise.
The SAICE Marine Division was formally approved by Council last year. Since then, a total of 93 SAICE members have joined the Division. Approximately half the members are Cape based, with other significant clusters in the Durban and Algoa/Amatholeregions. At the end of 2015, a general meeting in Cape Town appointed a standing committee, and since the beginning of this year it has been active in the process of setting up the new Division. An immediate priority going forward is to set up standing communication with its two clusters and with individual members elsewhere.