There are an awful lot of Engineers, Technologists and Technicians on the market seeking employment commensurate with what they were used to a few years ago. Employers have a choice today even though there are some categories that are hard to find or hard to fill because Engineers who are currently employed are not keen to move given the uncertainty in the market.
The numbers that have undergone retrenchment are horrendous typically in the EPCM and EPC domains. The opportunities for graduates remain consistent although employers are hesitant to undertake training programmes that graduates need in order to fulfill their professional registration requirements. It is an ideal time for this process to take place as long as suitable mentorship is available.
With the hopeful advent of the NDP, we should expect a demand on the engineering profession, but indications of this are slow in materialising. Infrastructure is in serious need of upgrading and development particularly in matters of water management and transport, electrical distribution and support of health care facilities.
What of manufacturing? Are we winning or losing this battle? All these areas of engineering activity need all the engineering disciplines and skills we can muster if the economy is to start growing.
Litigation process underway
Another serious matter has made itself apparent in our profession and it concerns the flawed process of appointment of the new council at ECSA. The VAs (Voluntary Associations) have followed due process, but essentially, the old council agreed on a list of people to be appointed as the new council. This list was then forwarded to the Minister.
When the Minister made the appointment, it was noticed that the list appointed was not the same as the list that was agreed upon by the old council. At this stage, we are not speculating on who changed the lists. We simply want to ensure that due process was followed as per the Engineers Professions Act (EPA). We believe, and after seeking legal advice, that there is sufficient evidence to the contrary and that the process was flawed, which concurs with the legal finding of the CBE.
Previously we sent official letters to the Minister of DPW and the office bearers of ECSA. They have not responded. We have therefore instructed our attorneys to lodge papers in the high court of South Africa. This sees the full litigation process underway.
ECSA is changing all the current systems to effectively disregard the services provide by the VAs in the form of committees. As to whom will now provide these remains to be seen, but it looks as though ECSA will be run by an administration, and hearsay is that they will work on changing the Engineering Professions Act.
How all this will align with the various Accords of which SA is a member is anyone’s guess.
It’s a clear case of government meddling in the profession without realising the importance of the role that peer group judgment plays.