Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) a statutory body responsible for the registration of engineers as skilled artisans has been invited by uMsunduzi Municipality to begin in earnest with the programme of registering engineers and artisans with an aim of making them qualified. The infrastructure manager, Mr Sechaba Kunene said, “Our objective as the Council is to have as many technologically skilled personnel as it is possible. We need to have them in ECSA committee and other fields of technology. It is thus important that they are fully qualified as would be expected from technologically oriented people.”
The Departments of Roads, Electricity, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements were part of the meeting. They wanted to see for themselves what the programme entails and how best it could benefit their departments. The staff had questions about registration and personal benefits from the programme; Kunene told the staff that it is their technical skills shortage that has in the past forced the Council to source skills from outside to get work done. This route has proven financially strenuous on the Council.
Kunene’s words sparked a heated debate. Mzovela Qwabe remarked that Engineers are invariably looked down upon compared to other professions.
“Doctors can open private practice but Engineers cannot do likewise”, noted Qwabe. Eric Nene from ECSA said doctors are fully accredited; hence they can open private practices. He challenged Engineers to respect their profession and obtain full accreditation; otherwise they will be treated as ordinary mechanics despite their qualification. This then has a negative impact on their salaries. They therefore cannot be remunerated and afforded benefits as would qualified engineers. Once one has been accredited as a fully qualified and specialist engineer ESCA has a responsibility of providing continuous refresher courses. “Many engineers fail to compile reports, something we ensure to provide continuous training on. This you will do once registered, at least be able to compile a report of 6000 words,” said Nene.
Jothy Moodley from ECSA reported that registration with ECSA is not compulsory but it is currently debated in Parliament. “You are lucky to have the Council that is so proactive. This will work to everyone’s advantage”, remarked Moodley.
Councillor Naleni Naidoo thanked ECSA on behalf of the Council. He expressed his appreciation for the initiative. “What is exciting is the fact that our communities will be assisted by fully accredited engineers they can best rely upon”, concluded Moodley.
By LUVUYO THALA