2005-2006 Annual Report


1 APRIL 2005 – 31 MARCH 2006

Dr P W B Kruger


In June 1995 on World Environment Day President Nelson Mandela made an important national commitment when he said:

“We, the people of South Africa, pledge our support for a healthy environment for all people. We will strive to implement national policies which will promote sustainable development, peace and human security. We also pledge our commitment to the custodianship of a global heritage.”

The importance of this commitment for the well-being of our country, continent and planet, has grown significantly over the past decade.

Between 1970 and 1995 Africa south of the Sahara has urbanized at a rate of 5.2 per cent per annum. During the same period the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the region declined at a rate of 0.66 per cent per annum (World Bank). Urban growth with simultaneous decline in GDP is unique in the world and resulted in vast informal settlements with inadequate housing, transport, water, sanitation, electricity, education and health services. Innovative approaches are needed to restructure and empower the many dysfunctional settlements on the continent and in South Africa.

To improve the social and economic conditions of citizens, while preserving the natural environment for future generations, is becoming a major and complex challenge in South Africa. SAAE has a key role to fulfill in meeting this challenge in the interest of society and of our planet.

Sound environmental management of cities inter alia calls for

  • effective urban governance;
  • alleviation of abject poverty;
  • delivery of adequate levels of housing and related; municipal, medical and educational services;
  • better public safety and security;
  • effective environmental awareness training programmes;
  • integrated land use and urban services planning;
  • management of the the impact of the total ecological footprint;
  • promotion of the “natural step” for communities;
  • fostering of the use of renewable resources; and
  • support for the implementation of appropriate science and technology-based sustainable development processes and practices in all aspects of the urban scene.

South Africa is blessed with natural and human resources of great importance to the quality of life in its cities. These include

  • unique fauna, flora and archeological deposits often leading to world heritage site status;
  • spectacular oceans, mountains and other natural scenery of great environmental value; large deposits of a great variety of precious metals and minerals;
  • top expertise in many professional research, planning and design centers, to support sound environmentally sustainable urban development programs

During the past year, SAAE and the South African Academy of Science (ASSAf) were approached by the US Academies to draft a proposal in collaboration with them, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Mexican Academy of Engineering and the Academy of Science of Tanzania to obtain funding for a project on the environmental sustainability of cities in the developing world. This partnership provides a unique and valuable opportunity to obtain world-class science and technology input to assist in meeting urbanization challenges in South Africa and Africa. The project aims at developing an Academy process for urban sustainability in consultation with the local city council, the provincial and the national government departments. Aspects being considered inter alia allow for

  • the building and cultivation of local and international networks; engaging in technical consultation;
  • demonstrating best practices;
  • conducting joint studies on alternatives; and
  • building local capacity and understanding for the urban sustainability process and goals.


Four Exco Meetings were held during the Financial Year 2005/2006: 13 June 2005, 17 August 2005, 23 November 2005 and 22 February 2006. The 8th AGM took place on 13 June 2005.


The following new Fellows were elected at the AGM held on 17 August 2005:

  • A Boniface, Director, Arcus Gibb. E C Botha, Executive Director, Innovation and Commercialization, University of Stellenbosch.
  • A M de Klerk, Executive Director, CE at UP (Pty) Ltd.
  • S T L Harrison, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town.
  • B N B Ngulube, Managing Director, South African Transformers Pty Ltd.
  • V Prins, CEO, Stewart Scott International.
  • A E Redman, Group Technical Director & Chairman Anglo Coal.
  • X Xia, Professor of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Pretoria.

THE INDUCTION DINNER IN GAUTENG took place at The Innovation Hub in Pretoria on 17 August 2005 and five new members (Fellow Ngulube absent) were inducted. Dr. Neville Comins, the CEO of the Innovation Hub, was the guest speaker with a very relevant and informative address on “A New Dynamic in Innovation”. The SAAE wishes to acknowledge with appreciation the sponsorship of the venue by The Innovation Hub and the Dinner by the University of Pretoria.

THE INDUCTION DINNER IN THE WESTERN CAPE took place at Kelvin Grove Club on 20 July 2005 and two new members were inducted. Fellow Willem Barnard, the CEO of KWV Ltd., was the guest speaker with a very informative address on “The Local and Global Wine Industry”. SAAE gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of the evening by KWV Ltd.


Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE)
 On the invitation of SAAE Prof Deci Zou (CAE Fellow), an urban infrastructure planning specialist, delivered the keynote address at the 5th China/Africa Infrastructure Forum at the Annual Transportation Conference in Pretoria in July 2005. He presented an informative paper on the Beijing Transportation Planning for the 2008 Olympic Games.

United States National Academies
SAAE co-operates with the US National Academies (USNA) and ASSAf in developing the Sustainable Secondary Cities Project as was first envisioned in a meeting in Pretoria on 24 February 2004 between SAAE and Mr. Barney Cohen of USNA. The project has a strong environmental focus and its funding is being considered by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Preparations commenced in October 2005 with South African site visits and symposia at the Universities of Pretoria and Cape Town. The US Delegation consisted of six members led by Mr. Barney Cohen. The South African Delegation included Members of SAAE, ASSAf, the Universities of Pretoria and Cape Town, The CSIR and other public and private role players, led by the President of SAAE. This was followed by a Workshop at Newport Beach in California from 5-7 February 2006 attended by delegates from the Academies of China, Mexico, Tanzania, the United States and South Africa (SAAE and ASSAf) with input from colleagues at the University of Stellenbosch (Prof. Mark Swilling), the University of California at Berkeley, the Healthy Communities Foundation, and the Urban Age Institute, among others, to finalise the proposal to the Moore Foundation. During the workshop the extent and nature of the problem in the four countries was analised and it was decided that Cape Town and Dar-es-Salaam should be used to pilot the initiative in Africa. The extreme diversity of the sustainability problems and the availability of local experience and capacity to undertake the study, were important considerations in the selection process of the two cities.

Fellow Bingle Kruger, President of SAAE, attended the First Annual International Conference of the African Science Academy Development (ASAD) Initiative in Nairobi on 6-10 November 2005 as a guest of ASSAf and the US National Academies. Of the 52 countries in Africa only 13 had Academies of Science. ASAD plans to promote the formation of academies of science in the remaining countries. South Africa is the only African country that currently has a separate Academy of Engineering. Nigeria, with a population of some 150 million, is working towards establishing a separate Academy of Engineering. Valuable papers have been presented on Academy operations and on the role of the ASAD Program in Africa, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Fellow Bob St. Leger, Vice-President of SAAE, attended the Meeting of the International Council of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) at Cairns in Australia on 10-14 July 2005 with an informative conference on Oceanography. A Report on the proceedings at CAETS is available at SAAE offices and was forwarded to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that kindly sponsored the cost of attending CAETS. Fellow Bob St. Leger approached members of CAETS in general and NAE specifically for assistance to SAAE on five possible projects to be undertaken: sustainability of major urban complexes, national manufacturing strategy, national energy strategy, national transportation policy and a “Marshall Plan” for the development of science and engineering resources.


The SAAE Draft Bill has been finalized in meetings between SAAE and DST, but takes much longer to go through the process of enactment than was anticipated. It may still be enacted later in 2006.

The Annual Hendrik van der Bijl Memorial Lecture 2005 was presented at the University of Pretoria on 13 June by Fellow Steve Lennon, Managing Director (Resources and Strategy), EVKOM on the topic “Energizing our Future” The address presented the electricity needs and challenges facing South Africa and was very well received. It is available on this website.

Technology Top 100 Awards (TT100), November 2005 SAAE has become an official sponsor of the TT100 Program as a means of encouraging development and use of technology which is necessary for South Africa to compete in the global economy. SAAE again took part in the adjudication process and presented the Leader in Portfolio Management Award.

Knowledge Production in South Africa A conference on Knowledge Production in South Africa took place in Cape Town on 23-24 June 2005 and was attended by several SAAE Fellows invited and sponsored by the Minister of Science and Technology. An outstanding paper on Knowledge Production was presented by Dr,.Mashelkar, the President of the Indian CSIR. The conference issued a concluding Declaration on Knowledge Production in South Africa. This Declaration and Dr. Mashelkar’s paper is available from SAAE offices.

The Forum of Transportation Professionals was formed in August 2005 as a voluntary team representing South African transportation professionals from the following professional bodies:

  • South African Academy of Engineering (SAAE)
  • South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE)
  • South African Road Federation (SARF)
  • South African Society for Intelligent Transport Systems.(SAISITS)
  • The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport – South Africa (CILTSA)
  • South African Transport Conference (SATC)

The Forum was appointed by the Minister of Transport to perform the function of project advisor to the Department of Transport (DOT) on the National Transport Master Plan Project. The four-member (three SAAE Fellows) Project Advisory Team, is independent with no vested interest in the Plan, is chaired by Fellow Johann du Plessis and has commenced with their work at no time cost charges to the Department.


Fellow Allyson Lawless has been congratulated by SAAE on the publication of her book “NUMBERS AND NEEDS” The book has been widely taken note of in very well presenting the critical capacity shortage of South Africa’s construction and engineering industry. The SAAE portfolio of annual activities has been well extended during the Financial Year 2005/2006 by two major projects:

  • The joint project with the US Academies and ASSAf on the Sustainability of Secondary Cities  .
  • The advisory role in the Forum of Transportation Professionals on the National Transportation Master Plan for the National Department of Transport.

With these two studies members of SAAE is contributing at no time costs in a meaningful way, to the needs, of urban environmental sustainability and of expertise in the growth of our country. May this valuable Academy role expand significantly in the years ahead.

2006 Annual General Meeting
South African Academy of Engineering
18 May 2006