2004-2005 Annual Report

Seventh ANNUAL REPORT

1 APRIL 2004 – 31 MARCH 2005

Dr P W B Kruger
President

Academies of Engineering are serving the well-being of their nations. They do so through the development of each nation’s global technological competitiveness. Technology policies and practices are addressed on a wide front according to each country’s particular needs. Aspects pertaining to each basic infrastructure tend to receive more prominence in developing countries, while in the U S A the National Academy even attends to complex matters such as challenges to landing on Mars. The Sixteenth Convocation of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences to be held in Australia in July 2005 has the challenging theme of “Oceans and the World’s Future.”

The February 2005 Newsletter of the Chinese Academy of Engineering lists the following as the “World’s Top Ten Science (and Engineering) News in 2004”:

  1. Landing on Mars and discovery of evidence of the existence of water.
  2. American hypersonic plane sets a new record by flying over ten thousand km per hour.
  3. The Cassini spaceship successfully enters the orbit of Saturn.
  4. Korean and American scientists use cloning technology for the first time to obtain the stem cells from human embryos.
  5. American scientists use nuclear magnetic resonance technology for the first time to observe single electrons.
  6. The US develops large-scale hydrogen manufacturing technology by using nuclear reactors.
  7. Japan develops the world’s fastest light communication technology.
  8. American astronomers discover the most remote large heavenly body in the solar system.
  9. French research on Aids virus antibodies makes important progress.
  10. Israeli and American scientists make a molecular motor that can stop or pause.

Highly advanced technologies such as these often require close collaboration between engineers and scientists which is the case with the US National Academies and with academies in other leading countries. Collaboration between the SAAE and the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) has been strengthened during the past year and bodes well for the future.

MEETINGS

Four Exco Meetings were held in Pretoria during the Financial Year 2004 / 2005: on 26 May 2004, 2 August 2004, 2 November 2004 and 24 February 2005.

The Seventh AGM took place on 26 May 2004 and the following Fellows were elected to serve on Exco for the 2004 – 2006 term: N Alli, T T Goba, F Hugo, P W B Kruger (President), A Lawless, J A G Malherbe, R D Marcus, R A Pullen, R F Sandenbergh, R G St Leger (Vice-President).

MEMBERSHIP

The following new Fellows were elected at the AGM held on 26 May 2004:

  • D A Barnard – Chief, Engineering Infrastructure, Spoornet.
  • P Cox – Chief Executive & Deputy Chairman, SASOL Ltd.
  • C Grim – Chief Executive Officer, AVENG Ltd.
  • R Havenstein – Chief Executive Officer, Anglo American Platinum Corporation.
  • J Joubert – Professor, Dept.EEC Engineering, Univ. of Pretoria.
  • D G Kröger – Senior Researcher, Dept. Mechanical Engineering, Univ. of Stellenbosch.
  • M E Mkwanazi – Chairman, Western Areas Ltd.
  • W A Nairn – Group Technical Director, Anglo American Plc.
  • F W Petersen – General Manager, Research & Development, Mintek.
  • P C Pistorius – Head, Dept. Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, Univ. of Pretoria.
  • R A Stanway – Director, Transportation Planning and Management, City of Johannesburg.
  • D Stephenson – Professor of Water Engineering, Dept. Civil Engineering, Univ. of Botswana.
  • W H van Niekerk – General Manager, Zincor.
  • J F Zietsman – Director, Zietsman Lloyd & Hemsted.

THE INDUCTION DINNER IN GAUTENG took place at Gallagher Estates on 8 September 2004. Fellow Willem Barnard, the CEO of KWV Ltd, was the guest speaker. He gave a very informative address on the local and global wine industry.

THE INDUCTION DINNER IN THE WESTERN CAPE took place at Kelvin Grove Club on 10 August 2004. The guest speaker was Professor Johann Lutjeharms of the Univ. of Cape Town. He is a Member of ASSAf, an oceanographer and NRF researcher. He gave a very informative address on the oceans of the world.

INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES

 

Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE)

 

 

Fellow Bingle Kruger and his wife attended the 10 year celebrations of CAE in Bejing as CAE guests and gave lectures in the cities of X’ian and Guangzhou. Representatives of Academies of 27 other countries attended the five-day programme which included meetings with cabinet ministers and the Premier of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) in the Hall of the People (Parliament).

Statistics on the Chinese nation and their engineering achievements are impressive:
In the year 2003, 55 % of all the cement used in the world, was used in the PRC.
The GDP growth of the PRC has been about 10 % for more than 20 years.

Fellow Bob Pullen attended the World’s Engineer’s Convention organized in Shanghai by the CAE from 2 – 6 November 2004 on behalf of ECSA and SAAE. Details on an On-line Forum on “The Road of Industrialization in Developing Countries” preceding the Convention, were distributed to all Fellows of SAAE. Fellow Pullen’s Report on the Convention is available from SAAE.

The China–Africa Engineering Association addressed a list of questions to SAAE on possible assistance, opportunities and the best approach to facilitate business between the engineering industries of the PRC and the RSA. These questions were circulated to all our Members to solicit their input in order to ensure that we provide the Chinese with the best advice in our response. The advice has been well received.

The South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry requested SAAE to assist them to select private sector representatives to form part of an official delegation to China. Fellow Thinus Basson was selected.

UNITED STATES NATIONAL ACADEMIES

On April 19, 2004 a media release stated that the U.S. National Academies have received a U.S. $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help African academies of science – and the continent’s scientific, engineering, and medical communities as a whole – strengthen their ability to provide evidence-based advice to inform government policy-making and public discourse on matters of public health. Three African academies of science, including ASSAf, were selected as partners of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). SAAE made a presentation to the NAS Delegation at a joint workshop in support of their important initiative. This was well received, and SAAE may later be called upon to provide assistance to ASSAf on certain engineering elements of this 10 year project.

On 24 February 2005 a meeting took place in Pretoria between SAAE and Mr. Barney Cohen of NAS on our possible involvement jointly with the National Academies on a project on Sustainable Cities in Developing Countries. Donor funding arrangements are presently in process.

CAETS

Fellow Bob St. Leger, Vice-President of SAAE, attended the Meeting of the International Council of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) in Stavanger, Norway from 26 – 29 May 2004. It included an excellent seminar on Global Energy Foresight addressed by a number of eminent speakers in the energy field. SAAE, assisted by Fellow Steve Lennon, nominated Mr.Joe Strydom of Eskom in view of his leading role in developing South Africa’s White Paper on Energy Foresight, to attend CAETS and make a written submission on behalf of SAAE for inclusion in a post-conference book on national energy foresights.

CAETS delegates strongly supported SAAE membership should we be in position to apply. There is as yet no representation from Africa. Valuable networking took place and the President of the Indian Academy of Engineering informally suggested that an Indian Ocean Rim relationship be developed. The basic advantage for SAAE of joining CAETS would be enhanced status nationally and internationally with a network to handle major issues of national importance. The criteria for membership acceptance include:
government recognition
adequate funding and
an active programme of Academy activities.

We may be in a position to apply for membership in 2006. A Report on “Participation in the CAETS Council Meeting and Seminar” by Fellow Bob St Leger is available from SAAE.

LOCAL ACTIVITIES

A Draft SAAE Bill has largely been finalised with the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The drafting and negotiations took much longer than was anticipated. Eventually we were advised to follow the format and text of the ASSAf Act and their recently approved Regulations as closely as practically possible. The process of enactment is complex, but with the support shown by DST it is now expected to be completed late in 2005 or early in 2006. We thank ASSAf for the use of their documents and Fellow Bob St. Leger for preparing much of the documentation on the SAAE Bill and Regulations .

The Annual Hendrik van der Bijl Lecture 2004 was presented at the University of Pretoria on 24 May by Fellow Ralph Havenstein, CEO of Anglo Platinum on the topic “Role and Future of the Platinum Industry in South Africa”. It was well received and is available on the SAAE website www.saae.co.za

Technology Top 100 Awards November 2004. The SAAE through Fellow Bob St. Leger, took part in the overall adjudication process. The SAAE Award in the category Research & Development (for large companies) was made to The South African Medical Research Council for its outstanding research and research management (of 48 specialised research units) over the last few years. Examples of the contribution made to improvement of health care include; the Essential Healthcare Technology Package (EHTP) for planning and management of health care resources which is being applied in a number of locations world-wide, discovery of a number of new drugs from plant origins for treating TB and malaria, and an innovative programme for vaccine development for HIV and Aids. The MRC is internationally recognized as one of the leading medical research bodies and its exports of medical technology alone now exceed R80 million a year.

 

Institutional Review of the National Research Foundation.

 

 

Fellow Jan Malherbe, who represented SAAE at the review meeting, reported that various shortcomings in the operations of the NRF have been reported by him. Some of these have been obtained by a survey conducted amongst all the Fellows of SAAE.

Strategy on Knowledge Production in South Africa has become a major concern to the Minister of Science and Technology. The President of SAAE was invited, together with a high level task team, to attend a meeting, chaired by the Minister, on 10 December 2004. There was broad-based agreement at the meeting that the country suffers from a shortage of skilled technical people and engineers, and that insufficient numbers of these are being produced annually. A conference of stakeholders is consequently to be held in June 2005 to formulate a national plan of action. The President and a number of SAAE Fellows have been invited by the Minister to attend this important conference under his leadership in Cape Town.

Inventing a Better Future. During September 2004 SAAE took part in this International Workshop jointly with ASSAf and the international Inter Academy Council (IAC). The three presentations by SAAE, ASSAf and IAC were of a high standard and were forwarded to all our Fellows electronically. The Meeting with the Minister and the Summit in June 2005, mentioned in the paragraph above, followed from this Workshop.

ADMINISTRATION

During the second half of 2004 it became apparent that it would for various reasons not be practical to move the SAAE’s administration to ASSAf’s offices. It was then decided to establish an office for SAAE on the premises of the home of the President in Lynnwood in Pretoria. Office equipment was bought and Mrs Heleen Duffey now undertakes the administration on a part-time basis.

Exco decided that a website for SAAE should be established and consequently all information that normally appears in a yearbook is now available on the website: www.saae.co.za

GENERAL

A group of Fellows representing both the Membership and the Executive met with a view to discuss a number of pertinent issues regarding the future of the Academy. Issues addressed included:
The relevance of an Academy of Engineering in the South African context.
The range of activities in which the SAAE should be involved.
The urgent need to position SAAE as a body fulfilling its Mission: Service to the Nation.
The potential of funding from Government and from large organizations in South Africa whose bottom line activities are associated with the Engineering profession.

SAAE acts as an autonomous body, while its members are elected on the basis of the highest level of engineering achievement and knowledge and of significant contribution to the development of the country. SAAE serves as an independent agent enabling the engineering community to make appropriate input to policy advisory and implementation bodies in a coordinated and representative manner.

SAAE establishes national and international links with similar organizations in order to foster the international exchange of information and ideas in the interest of the country and its people. We now have ongoing active relations with the Academies of Australia, the PRC and the USA. Discussions have started with India. More interaction should follow through membership of CAETS.

 

In the above context an Act for SAAE will be a major step towards realizing our Vision:
SAAE, the preferred source of expert advice on matters pertaining to global competitiveness and quality of life for the nation.

2005 Annual General Meeting
South African Academy of Engineering
7 June 2005