SECOND ANNUAL REPORT
1 April 1999 - 31 March 2000
Dr P W B Kruger
The founding and early years of the South African Academy of Engineering have been well documented in the 1998/99 Annual Report. During these formative years of the nineties, the Academy was acutely aware of the enormous challenge it faced with respect to the relevance and credibility of its role in the transforming "new South African" engineering profession. It therefore remained inactive initially, awaiting the outcome of the engineering unification initiative.
It became clear in 1999 that the long-awaited unification of the engineering profession under the leadership of the South African Engineering Association (SAVI) had for unforeseen reasons, failed to find adequate support among the various engineering institutions. Anticipating this outcome, the Academy decided to become independently active, as in many other countries, pursuing the following activities during the year under review:
- Four Executive Committee Meetings were held during the year plus one regional meeting in Cape Town:
° 25 May 1999
° 2 September 1999
° 11 November 1999
° 29 March 2000
° 21 October 1999 (Regional).
- A list of 27 new members were approved at the Annual General Meeting of 25 May 1999 and later finalised, bringing the total membership to 63.
- The Constitution was drafted by a team of Fellows in the Western Cape under the leadership of Fellow Bob St Leger. This was duly circulated for comment and formally adopted at a Special General Meeting on 2 September 1999.
- Information on management education for undergraduate engineering programmes at Australian universities, was circulated to Deans of Engineering at every South African university. The response indicated that some South African universities were already successfully involved in post-graduate management education for engineers.
- The Pretoria Engineers Liaison Committee has been organising the Annual Hendrik van der Bijl Lecture since 1963. membership of our Academy of this Committee has been formally accepted. Fellow Bingle Kruger was invited by the Committee to deliver this Lecture in May 2000.
- A highly successful joint international symposium on Public Private Partnerships was held in Pretoria on 1-2 November 1999 under the auspices of the South African Civil Engineering Advisory Council (CEAC), the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and the South African Academy of Engineering. Some 200 delegates attended this high-level symposium (by invitation only), and 24 invited papers were presented on PPPs in general and in the power, water, transportation and telecommunications fields. The Symposium Proceedings, including all papers, discussions, the outcome of a delegate opinion survey, and recommendations to Government, were distributed to all attendees in March 2000. All costs were sponsored by ABSA Bank, Eskom Enterprises, BKS, Vodacom, the Gauteng Economic Development Agency, and CEAC. Very good relations were established between the three organising institutions. This bodes well for similar joint activities in the future. A copy of the Proceedings was later presented directly to the Minister of Transport, Dullah Omar, by Fellow Bingle Kruger.
- The Academy is greatly indebted to the Australian Academy, which so generously offered to assist our young Academy in various ways, including sending five of its members to participate in the Symposium. A follow-up Symposium is recommended in 2001 on another subject of importance.
- A successful induction ceremony of our new Fellows took place at an evening dinner, which was also attended by Fellows from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Their Dr Jim Gill gave an excellent after-dinner speech entitled "What makes the Australian Academy successful", a copy of which was distributed to all Fellows.
- A proposed logo for the Academy was displayed at the Academy Induction Dinner and was also circulated to all Fellows for comment. Following overwhelming support from our Fellows, the Executive Committee officially adopted the logo at its meeting of 29 March 2000. The colour of the logo was to be gold and its symbolism to be appropriately explained in Annual Reports as necessary.
- Projects presently under investigation by EXCO include
- Comment on the Engineering Profession Bill
- Aspects of road safety
- The emigration of engineers
- Engineers in prominent roles of leadership in governments worldwide. Fellows are requested to bring appropriate new projects to the attention of EXCO.
- No progress has been made in establishing a meaningful relationship with the South African Academy of Sciences. Contact will be maintained and strengthened whenever the opportunity arises.
- The criteria for election to membership of the Academy were finalised with the Constitution, a standard nomination form for new members accepted and distributed to all Fellows.
- The use of the acronym FSAAE by Fellows of the Academy, has been adopted by EXCO.
- Design of the membership certificate, based on the adopted logo, will be presented at the 8 June 2000 EXCO meeting for approval.
The above activities over the past year ensured good progress in making our small Academy become visible. The new Executive Committee to be elected by all Fellows, which will take office from 8 June 2000 at the Annual General Meeting, will need to find ways to grow the Academy with discernment, and to accelerate the process of integrating the wisdom and knowledge inherent in our Fellows with the decision-making fabric of our country.
In the interests of quality of life for all citizens of our country (and our continent), excellence in the science and application of Engineering must be efficiently promoted in the broadest sense as elucidated in the Aims and Objectives of our Constitution. The turn of the century (and the millennium) may well be remembered in future years as the time when the Academy gained the critical momentum necessary for general recognition in its role of effectively contributing towards addressing the many multi-disciplinary national and global engineering and technological issues of our times of dynamic change and intense competition.