Annual Report

14th Annual Report

1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012


R A Pullen





At this time, a year ago, I concluded my Annual Report as follows: “opportunities for obtaining financial support from the DST for at least the minimum administrative costs of the Academy are being followed up. Only in this way can the Academy embark on really meaningful activities to achieve its objectives in the interest of the country and of all its people.” It is a pleasure to report that real progress was made in this regard during 2011/12. The outlook for financial sustainability is good.


Relationships with CAETS and with our sister Academies around the world have strengthened and there are possibilities for cooperation that would be to mutual benefit. The SA Academy of Engineering must now create an opportunity to demonstrate its relevance in the fabric of South African society by informing the debates on many aspects of the economic development of the country.


It was with deep sadness that we learned of the passing way of two Fellows during the year. Fellow Braam le Roux passed away on 31 July 2011 after a period of illness. His contribution to the SAAE over many years, and in particular his contribution as Honorary Treasurer, is highly appreciated. Fellow Peter Dunaiski passed away on 14 September 2011 after a long illness.


Exco and AGM Meetings


Four Exco Meetings took place during the Financial Year 2011/12 on the following dates:

11 May 2011

31 August 2011

16 November 2011 and

22 February 2012.


The Exco meetings took place in the ASSAf Committee Room, The Woods, Persequor Park, Pretoria, with the kind permission of the Chief Executive of ASSAf, Prof Roseanne Diab.



On 28 July 2011 the relationship between SAAE and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) was raised to a new level when our Executive Secretary was accommodated, at no direct cost to the SAAE, in their office with access to many facilities not previously enjoyed. It is reassuring to have a fixed address for the Academy and welcome access to meeting venues. This gesture from the ASSAf Council and the Executive is greatly appreciated.


The 14th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the SAAE took place in the SRC Board Room, University of Pretoria Conference Centre, on 1 June 2011. This was followed by the presentation of the 2011 Hendrik van der Bijl Memorial Lecture which is reported on below.




The following new Fellows were elected at the AGM held on 1 June 2011, bringing the membership to 163.


  • Bredell, Pieter Johannes, Nuclear Consultant.


  • Douglas, Prof Tania, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences.


  • Frohling, Dr Robert Desmond, Principal Engineer, Mechanical Technology, Transnet Freight Rail.


  • Grobler, Prof Louis Johannes, Professor in Mechanical Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom.


  • Iyuke, Prof Sunny Esayegbemu, Professor and Head of School of Chemical & Metallurgical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand.


  • Lewis, Prof Alison Emslie, Professor, Department Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town.


  • Maharaj, Prof Bodhaswar Tikanath Jugpershad, Professor, Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Pretoria.


  • Maina, Dr James William, Chief Research Engineer and Research Group Leader, Transport Infrastructure Engineering, CSIR Built Environment.


  • Reinders, Felix Britz, Programme Manager: Agricultural Water Resources and Conservation, Agricultural Research Council, Department of Agriculture.


  • Van Steen, Prof Eric Wilhelmus Josephus, Professor, Department Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town.

  • Wright, David William General Manager: Corporate Planning, Engen Petroleum Ltd.


The new Fellows were welcomed by the President at Induction Dinners held in Cape Town on 19 October 2011 and in Pretoria on 2 November 2011.




The Executive Committee for 2010-2012 was as follows:


  • Trueman Goba, Executive Chairman, Goba (Pty)Ltd.

  • Prof Fred Hugo, Emeritus Professor and Director ITT, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Stellenbosch.

  • Dr Bingle Kruger, Retired CEO, BKS (Pty)Ltd.

  • Braam le Roux, Retired CEO, Spoornet.

  • Dr James Maina, CSIR, co-opted to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Fellow Braam le Roux.

  • Prof Roy Marcus, Chairman, Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management.

  • Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Johannesburg.

  • Dempsey Naidoo, Executive Chairman, PD Naidoo and Associates.

  • Bob Pullen, Past President, ECSA and Retired Deputy CEO, BKS (Pty)Ltd.

  • Prof Roelf Sandenbergh, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, University of Pretoria


The Office Bearers during 2010-2012 were:

President : Fellow Bob Pullen

Vice Presidents : Fellow Roy Marcus

Fellow Trueman Goba

Fellow Roelf Sandenbergh

Treasurer : Fellow Braam le Roux, succeeded by Fellow Dempsey Naidoo.


The contribution and service to the Academy of the outgoing Executive Committee is recognized with thanks and much appreciation. The past two years in the life of the Academy has been both satisfying and somewhat frustrating; frustrating in the sense that the Academy has been, through lack of resources, unable to take the step up to really meet its mandate to the best of its ability. The Executive Committee has held steadfast and has brought the organization to the threshold of a new era.


Fellows Bingle Kruger, Roy Marcus, Fred Hugo, Roelf Sandenbergh and Tshilidzi Marwala have indicated that they are unavailable for reelection for the 2012/14 term of office. The service of these Fellows to the Academy as members of Exco for many years, some since the inception of the organization, has been exemplary and deserving of our deepest gratitude. We thank them most sincerely for their sacrifices, substantial contributions and great leadership.

Western Cape Induction Dinner


CapeRay, a high technology company established by Fellow Kit Vaughan, hosted the Induction Dinner at the Kelvin Grove Club on 19 October 2011. Kit Vaughan and his colleague from UCT, Prof Tania Douglas, delivered a presentation on the development and commercialisation of a radiological scanning device for diagnosing breast cancer. The evening was greatly enjoyed by 42 Fellows and their partners.


Gauteng Induction Dinner


On 2 November 2011 the Aveng Group hosted the Gauteng Induction Dinner at the Pretoria Country Club. Mr Richard Wade, an astronomer and archaeologist, together with his colleague, Nadine Broodryk, made a most entertaining presentation on geomythology. The Embassy of Mexico made available on loan a collection of outstanding photographs of archaeological sites in their country. This provided an excellent backdrop to the presentation which had links to the Inca and Mayan civilizations. An appreciative gathering of 69 Fellows and guests attended the function.


SAAE gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of the Western Cape Induction Dinner by CapeRay and the Gauteng Dinner by the Aveng Group. .




Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS)

The Mexican Academy of Engineering (AI) hosted the 19th Council Meeting and Convocation in Mexico City, 27 June 2011 to 2 July 2011. The venue of the meetings was the Presidente InterContinental Hotel, Campos Eliseos 218, Mexico City. The SAAE was represented by Fellow Bob Pullen, President, who presented a paper on South African Engineering Practice in Relation to Hydrological Risks: Floods and Droughts. Fellow Pullen was appointed to the CAETS Audit Committee for the ensuing two years.


In 2009 the SAAE was invited by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) to participate as one of five corresponding member Academies in their CAETS-endorsed project on Deployment of Low-emission Technologies for Electric Power Generation in Response to Climate Change. During 2011/12 Fellow Philip Lloyd made substantial and highly appreciated contributions to the compilation and editing of a report on this project.


Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE)

In April 2011 Fellow Bob Pullen and his wife Dee were invited to visit China to meet with Prof Zhou Ji, the newly appointed President of the CAE, and to represent the SAAE at the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Chang’an University in Xi’an City. This visit provided an opportunity to initiate an update of the MoU entered into between the SAAE and the CAE in 2002. The review now in progress will envisage a new set of joint activities up to 2017.




Panel Discussion on the IRP2010

The Integrated Resource Plan 2010 (IRP2010), being the vision of Government for the development of electric energy generating capacity up to about 2030, was adopted early in 2010. This created an opportunity for the SAAE to evaluate the Plan and to provide Government with an opinion. A Panel Discussion of the IRP2010 took place on 8 April 2011 in Pretoria and all members were invited to participate together with a number of invited specialists. About 20 persons participated in the discussion.


Technology Top 100 Awards (TT100)

SAAE, as an official sponsor of the TT100 Program, supports this initiative for encouraging innovative technological development which is so necessary for South Africa to become more competitive in the global economy. SAAE Fellows assist in the adjudication process.


Annual Hendrik van der Bijl Memorial Lecture

On 1 June 2011 Dr Rob Adam, then the CEO of NECSA, presented the Hendrik van der Bijl Lecture on The Future of Nuclear Technology in South Africa. This subject was most topical at the time, with the Minister of Energy about to make important policy announcements. The lecture was well attended by Fellows and guests who appreciated the insight and background to the subject given by Dr Adam.




During the Financial Year 2011/12 the total assets of the Academy decreased from

R40 970 to R37 871, represented by cash in the bank and the depreciated value of computer equipment acquired during the year. The assets represent retained income and there are no liabilities to be met.


Income during the year amounted to R112 752 (down from R135 363 in 2010/11), comprising membership fees of R109 300, donations of R2 684 and interest of R768. The main items of expense were Administration Fees, Travelling Expenses, and CAETS Membership Fees.


It is clear that the Academy was operating within a very modest budget funded by membership fees and is heavily reliant on volunteer contributions of time and in kind. This severely limits the degree to which its mission can be achieved.


During the last months of the Financial Year the Academy was advised by ASSAf that the Department of Science and Technology (dst) had made an amount of R200 000 available on its grant to ASSAf to support the activities of the SAAE. This support has been requested and motivated for some time and is greatly appreciated. The Academy is now able to undertake the kind of activities which are necessary to build a sustainable organization of value to South African society. It is anticipated that the new source of funding will be available early in the 2012/13 Financial Year and that it will be sustained into the future.




The Academy is focused on serving the public of South Africa and does not serve the needs of its members. It is the knowledge, experience and wisdom of its members that must be mobilized in the interest of the public. The President, Council and CEO of ASSAf are thanked for their sympathetic cooperation in facilitating the financial support of the Department of Science and Technology which will make it possible for the Academy to fulfil its mission.


The Academy is now well placed to embark on really meaningful activities to achieve its objectives in the interest of the country and all of its people, i.e. to provide all spheres of Government with independent advice on matters where the engineering fraternity is best informed and can mobilize the contributions of others.




2012 Annual General Meeting,

South African Academy of Engineering


30 May 2012




Fellow RA Pullen PrEng