As a developing nation, South Africa’s engagement in the global economy is either advanced or constrained by the state of its infrastructural capabilities. The first ever Infrastructure Report Card (IRC) for South Africa, exploring the state of the country’s infrastructure, was released in 2006 by SAICE.
According to past SAICE President (2006), Sam Amod PrEng, “Report cards that attempt to greet the condition of infrastructure, or comment on the trends in their condition, have been published in the developed world since the late 1990s. They are now gaining traction in the developing world, starting with South Africa in 2006.”
The 2006 IRC, which reported on the condition of infrastructure in South Africa at the time, was followed by an updated IRC in 2011, which also covered notable developments and projects centred on the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
This year, on 26 September, SAICE will publish its third IRC, which will provide an overall grade for the country’s infrastructure. The report will cover 11 sectors, including roads and rail, water supply, electricity, schools and universities, sanitation and waste management, and health facilities. These sectors are subdivided into 29 sub-sectors, each being given a grade and a brief description of the infrastructure involved – all in a way that will be accessible to the public.
Sundran Naicker PrEng, SAICE’s reigning President, emphasises that the IRC is a mechanism which can be used to engage with government.
Manglin Pillay, CEO of SAICE, agrees: “If you do not measure something, it is very difficult to assess how you can improve on it, or even deliver it. Furthermore, I believe we are one of the few institutions, if not the only one, that carries out this particular measuring of infrastructure. In essence, we are helping government assess itself in terms of how it is delivering infrastructure, and more importantly, on how to improve the operations of infrastructure, using the IRC as a measuring tool.”
“It is SAICE’S intention that the current and future IRCs will evoke discussions that provide impetus for the required leadership, and action for a better sustainable lifestyle for all South African citizens,” concludes Malcom Pautz PrEng, also a past SAICE President (2015).