Dams in South Africa are generally taken for granted, and are viewed in a favourable light. For the 'man in the street' here, living in a city or town, it is difficult to comprehend that some people in the world are waging a campaign against dams, which are to him something inherently good, like mother's milk. He may be only vaguely aware of the fact that without dams there would be no water in his bathroom, nor would there be substantial reliable irrigation, nor for that matter would there be a modern industry in this and other countries with a similar climate.
As South African civil engineers, we are deeply concerned about the future of our profession. Our colleagues are leaving the country faster than our universities are producing new engineers, and the schools are struggling in their efforts to produce candidates for university studies in engineering. Civil Engineering spoke to Mr Lionel Mtshali, Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, who revealed his thinking on these problems and the culture of innovation his ministry is encouraging.