A shortage of skilled personnel and a lack of infrastructure maintenance are still major issues plaguing the development of infrastructure across sectors in the country.
This is according to the latest data from The South African Institution of Civil Engineering’s (SAICE) 2017 Infrastructure Report Card (IRC) for South Africa. The highly anticipated third infrastructure report card was launched on 26 September 2017 at SAICE House in Midrand.
“In the previous reports, as in this one, the shortage of skilled personnel and the lack of maintenance emerged as major themes across all sectors. All three of the IRCs also showed that neglect of maintenance is a serious and persistent problem,” SAICE said.
As Sam Amod PrEng, SAICE President 2006 explained in his statement at the launch of the previous IRC in 2011, “… the skills challenge will require a long-term solution, and infrastructure, once created, is unrelenting in its demand for maintenance, and this demand increases the longer it is ignored, potentially jeopardising the wellbeing of society.
“From our evaluation, skill constraints notwithstanding, bold leadership and effective management are irreplaceable ingredients for successful and sustainable infrastructure provision.” This is as valid as ever the institute added.
A measuring tool for government
The SAICE 2017 IRC has been produced and validated by individuals who are infrastructure professionals, thus ensuring its reliability to make it an excellent tool for government to utilise.
Manglin Pillay PrEng, CEO of SAICE, explained, “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 maintaining and delivering infrastructure, and more importantly, on how to improve the operations of infrastructure, using the IRC as a measuring tool.”
H added that the state of a nation’s infrastructure provides one of the best indicators of its likely prosperity. “For South Africa, as a developing nation, its engagement in the global economy is either advanced or constrained by the state of its infrastructural capabilities,” he concluded.