The deepening controversy surrounding national environmental policy has been highlighted through the response to the discussion document released recently by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The voluminous nature of the discussion document unfortunately obscures the fundamental policy decisions the nation needs to make before proceeding with the development of institutional structures and capacity to deal with environmental regulation.
It would seem that very few engineers are satisfied with the position they occupy in today's society. It would also seem that the position we occupy is somehow beneath the older professions, and distinctly less in esteem than the architects'. We feel we are as learned as lawyers and certainly provide a better service to the community than television personalities, but at the same time we are resentful about it. The trouble is that beneath this discontent we have the knowledge it was not always so. To understand this more fully we need to go back a long time, to the Victorian era in fact.
The July issue of Civil Engineering carried an interview with Gauteng's then Minister for Development Planning, Environment and Works, MEC Sicelo Shiceka. In the interview with Philip Clarke, Mr Shiceka expressed many views on the situation regarding hazardous waste disposal in the Gauteng region. His conclusion was that there was no crisis in Gauteng. The President of the Institute of Waste Management (lWM), which represents waste management professionals in South Africa, considered several views Mr Shiceka expressed to be incorrect and asked Civil Engineering for an opportunity to address them at the 8arliest opportunity. Editor Reinoud Boers spoke to IWM President, Peter Davies, and asked him what these objections were.
The ever-increasing demand for water to satisfy both urban and agricultural needs in the Western Cape was forecast to exceed available supplies within the foreseeable future. A comprehensive study was required to plan the development of schemes to meet this need in a structured fashion. The prior development of systems modelling techniques for the Vaal River System provided an opportunity to apply this methodology also to the complex water supply system of the Western Cape. This would permit the four main water supply nodes to be evaluated in a single system, rather than separately, and advantage to be taken of the different rainfall characteristics of the catchment areas draining to the main dams.
Upgrading of the sports facilities in Bloemfontein has provided the city with a number of high-grade complexes After almost 40 years of 'long-distance' viewing, Free State rugby fans were able to enjoy the 1995 World Cup at close quarters because of major improvements to the spectator facilities. Furthermore, the provision of a new athletics track, including a rugby B field, and a hockey field is set to provide Bloemfontein ratepayers with a panoply of sporting pleasures.
Professionalism is a dreadful word, but I cannot find a better. The trouble is that not only is it clumsy, but it conveys no clear meaning; perhaps it never did. Yet it represents something that I believe to be important; the principles it stands for were part of the reason I, and doubtless many others, chose the job I did as a professional civil engineer. Some argue that 'professionalism' is not the thing that matters; competence is the issue, they say. But competence generally means having the ability to do something well, and makes no allusion to the nature of what is done - its value or its purpose or the motive for doing it.
In the early 1950 the British actor Sir Lawrence Olivier signed a restraint of trade agreement in favour of the film company for which he had acted in Shakespeare's 'Henry V'. In brief terms, the restraint stipulated that Sir Lawrence would refrain from acting in any film dealing with Shakespeare's dramatic works for a period of one year. This effectively put the actor out of action in his chosen career for a one-year period. He was also paid the sum of approximately 50 000 to sign this restraint agreement. He claimed that this payment was tax-free in that it was a payment of a capital nature for the sterilisation of a capital asset, being his right to earn a living. The Receiver of Revenue contested this, but at the end of the day Sir Lawrence was successful.
A recent World Bank report suggests that proactive steps should be taken to control pollution, rather than simply forcing the polluter to pay for cleaning up In the world's economically fastest growing region, cash should playa greater role in controlling pollution than command and control regulation, according to a recent World Bank discussion document. In East Asia. 'slowing economic growth is not the solution: it suggests. 'Though many forms of environmental damage in the region have worsened, rapid growth is not the underlying cause ... low-growth countries experience similar difficulties: says the report East Asia's Environment, Principles and Priorities for Action. Using prices, taxes and tradable permits has 'great potential' in environmental protection, it says.
The road to Gamkaskloof takes off 2,7 km on the Prince Albert side of the Swartberg Pass summit. On the map the crow-flight distance to the river measures 40 km but the road distance is about 57 km. It is of course a 'slow' road, not only because of the surface and the geometries (there are some delightfully testing pass sections) but because you will want to stop to look at the rugged scenery and to feel the stillness, and probably to wander off into the veld for a while. At any rate, you will if you are an egte padmaker!