Local infrastructure impacted on by skills deficit – SAICE

27 September 2017

A lack of skilled professionals and maintenance has emerged as among the major issues facing most of South Africa’s infrastructure sectors,

according to the South African Institution of Civil Engineering’s (Saice’s) third Infrastructure Report Card (IRC) for South Africa.

“Efficient maintenance of infrastructure is critical. If infrastructure is mismanaged owing to a lack of maintenance the functional life span will decline,” noted the institute.

According to the report, the lives of people in smaller towns are impacted on when, for example, water purification works and sewage plants are in disrepair, as residents are exposed to health risks.

This situation arises when municipalities have no, or inexperienced, civil engineering practitioners.

The report further notes that, in the global economy, the state of a nation’s infrastructure provides one of the best indicators of its likely prosperity. For South Africa, as a developing nation, its engagement in the global economy is either advanced or constrained by the state of its infrastructure capabilities.

Saice’s current IRC, following on the initial 2006 and the follow up 2011 IRC’s, extended the sectors it assessed to ten, including 29 subsectors.

The sectors include water supply and distribution, electricity, roads and rail, schools and universities, sanitation and wastewater, and solid waste management.

The overall grade awarded for the state of South Africa’s infrastructure is D+.

“I believe we are one of the few institutions that carries out this particular measuring of infrastructure. We are helping government assess itself in terms of how it is maintaining and delivering infrastructure and how to improve infrastructure operations,” noted CEO Manglin Pillay. 

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