Engineers speak out on recent cabinet reshuffle

 

Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), the industry association for consulting engineers, representing a member base of over 500 companies which employ over 23000 people in various capacities, has expressed dismay at the recent cabinet reshuffle.

According to CESA, the current cabinet reshuffle, which they accept as being the prerogative of the president,  not only runs the risk of exacerbating the already troubled economic situation but also sends out a disturbing message on rewarding mediocrity and punishing excellence. The latter is counter-intuitive to the culture that CESA seeks to establish among young engineering professionals who will be responsible for ensuring the well-being of South Africa’s infrastructure for generations to come.

CESA states that the country cannot afford this questionable reshuffle based on the need for more “effectiveness and efficiency” according to the president, when this flies in the face of dispensing of the very performance needed to achieve this objective. As engineers, CESA believes that a better approach would have been to dispense of the non-performers and bring on board more performers.

According to CESA, industry is already experiencing difficulty amidst corruption, appointment of consulting engineering firms that have little or no track record of delivery and even mafia-style criminal activity halting construction activity. The latter, they say, not only puts lives at risk but also affects job security in a sector where limited employment opportunities currently exist due to the already low levels of capital investment in infrastructure.

CESA states that the junk status downgrade investment rating by Standard & Poor’s, a leading global credit rating agency, which emanated mostly from the political uncertainty confirmed by this ill-timed reshuffle, limits investor confidence further and will not only hamper economic growth, but will further limit their ability to create more jobs.  Skilled engineering practitioners from various technical disciplines are currently being retrenched at a time when the profession has been identified as one of the ten most scarce skills in the country, the organisation adds.

The association acknowledges that the jury is always out on whether the new appointees will be future star performers and whether some ministers will have learnt from their past shortcomings. As an industry committed to the success and wellbeing of the country, in support of initiatives towards constructive and sustainable economic transformation, CESA has also indicated that it has offered to partner with those ministries entrusted with infrastructure delivery.

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