DWS ‘hampering its own vision’ with Cuban appointments

26 May 2015

SAICE and its sister organisations have an adverse view of the first Cuban engineers who have arrived in the Free State.

The Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS) decision to appoint the Cubans to implement their skills capacity drive, illustrates DWS’ disregard for local industry body concerns.

It highlights the apathy and disregard for the opinions of industry institutions and highly acknowledged key decision makers. SAICE implores the department to review the Cuban appointments and to invite relevant institutions to fashion alternatives more appropriate to the challenges at hand.

The dispute relating to consultation with local institutions pertains to sourcing appropriate local solutions, in collaboration with the institutions, to relieve technical capacity challenges.

SAICE’s survey of 380 members showed that 40% were willing to work in the public sector.
Consulting Engineers SA (CESA) has confirmed that there is currently a 40% under-utilisation of local consulting engineering capacity and that hundreds of graduate technicians and technologists are struggling to find experiential training or sustainable work.

Cuban engineering practitioners are not recognised by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), to which South African engineering practitioners have to adhere, as Cuba is not signatory to the Washington, Sydney or Dublin Accords.

Thus Cuban engineers should not be allowed to practice in South Africa as they cannot be registered by ECSA. They can also not mentor aspiring registrant graduate engineers in South Africa, according to a law created by the South African Government (Engineering Professions Act 2000, Department of Public Works), which government, i.e. DWS itself, will be contravening .

Furthermore, this initiative goes against the National Development Plan (NDP), which calls for urgent re-professionalising of the public sector. The DWS now spends this money on Cuban practitioners at the expense of developing young engineers, and retaining local engineers.

SAICE, on behalf of the country’s engineering institutions, implores the DWS not to continue with this initiative which is already set to fail, and rather invest in alternatives which actually address the real problems of skills shortage in the department and country.

Manglin Pillay, CEO of SAICE, is outspoken when he says that he would like to see the Cuban engineers sent back home. He states that government should employ local, registered, experienced senior engineers to avoid another ESKOM and Rand Water situation.
South Africa just cannot afford water shedding on top of load shedding!

More information from Marie Ashpole,Cell:082 870 9229/Tel:011 805 5953/Email: [email protected]

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue