2008-2009 Annual Report

South African Academy of Engineering
11th Annual Report

1 April 2008 – 31 March 2009

R A Pullen


The engineering and construction industry can look back on a very successful year.  Public and private sector spending on infrastructure  have been greatly increased to support the country’s  economic growth  and in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World  Cup.  

SAAE responded to this national development by organizing a closed International Workshop on  the Engineering Skills Shortage on 3 and 4 March 2008 at the University of Pretoria.  A Report on the Workshop and all the presentations together with some photographs, can be seen on the SAAE website www.saae.co.za

The impact of the global financial melt down put a damper on growth towards the end of the financial year.  Further slow down followed from uncertainties  attached to the possible political outcomes of the approaching  national elections in April 2009.

Exco and AGM Meetings
Four Exco Meetings  took place during the Financial Year 2008/2009:
14 May 2008,  20 August 2008, 12 November 2008  and  28 January 2009. The 11th AGM took place on 28 May 2008. On 26 July 2008 a Bosberaad was held by EXCO on strategic aspects of the future of SAAE.

The following new Fellows were elected at the AGM held on 28 May 2008:

Name Position
Amod, Salim Abdul Sathar Managing Director, Development and Engineering Consultants
Anderson, Francois Chief Radar & EW System Engineer; CSIR Fellow CSIR DPSS       (Pty) Ltd
Burger, Andries Jacobus Prof and Departmental Chairman, Process Engineering, University of Stellenbosch
Hrabár, Stefan Zygmundt de Nagy Köves Director, Merlim (Pty) Ltd
Lacquet, Beatrys Margaretha  Dean, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand 
Lombard, Pierre Christo Railway Engineering Consultant
Louw, Willem Managing Director
Nurick, Alan Head, Dept of Mechanical Engineering Science, University of Johannesburg
Nurick, Gerald Norman Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Cape Town
Rohde, Gustav CEO, Africon
Zingoni, Alphose Professor of Structural Engineering, University of Cape Town

The new Fellows were informed by the President and officially inducted at Induction Dinners held in Gauteng and the Western Cape later in the year.


The following ten nominations for Exco were received and consequently no postal ballot was necessary for their election and confirmation at the AGM:


Dr Con Fauconnier           Retired Chief Executive, Exxaro Resources Ltd
Mr Trueman Goba    Executive Chairman, Goba Moahloli Keeve Steyn
Prof Fred Hugo    Emeritus Professor and Director ITT, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Stellenbosch 
Mr Braam  le Roux    Retired CEO, Spoornet  
Dr Bingle Kruger      Retired CEO, BKS
Prof Roy Marcus Chairman, da Vinci Institute for Technology Management
Prof Tshilidzi Marwala Carl and Emily Fuchs Chair of Systems and Control Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand  
Mr Bob Pullen Past President, ECSA
Prof Roelf Sandenbergh Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, University of Pretoria
Dr Mike Shand Director, Ninham Shand
President :             Fellow Bob Pullen
Vice Presidents :   Fellow Roy Marcus
  Fellow Trueman Goba
  Fellow  Roelf Sandenbergh
Treasurer :              Fellow Braam le Roux

Fellow Bingle Kruger was not available to be re-elected as President and Fellow Bob St Leger was not available to be nominated for a further term on Exco. Both were thanked for many years of service on Exco as President and Vice President of SAAE.  Fellow J Malherbe also indicated that he was not available for a further term on Exco.  He too was thanked for his long service to SAAE.< /p>

Western Cape Induction Dinner:

Ninham Shand Consulting Engineers hosted the Dinner at Kelvin Grove in Cape Town on 30 October 2008.  Fellow Hugo delivered an address on Engineering Skills Development. SAAE gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of the dinner by the host.

Gauteng Induction Dinner

On 4 November 2008 the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Prof Ihron Rensburg, hosted the dinner at the Waterford Restaurant at the School of Tourism and Hospitality on the Bunting Road Campus of the University. Prof Rensburg delivered an address on Engineering Education. SAAE acknowledges with appreciation the sponsorship of the dinner by the University of Johannesburg.



Fellow Bob St Leger represented SAAE at the CAETS Annual Council Meeting in The Hague on 25-27 June 2008  at the Conference in Delft on Delta Technology:  Enabling Life in River Deltas. 

The reasons for our representation were:

  • To maintain and develop the cordial relationship we have established with CAETS at previous meetings with a view of joining the organisation.
  • To draw on the experience of CAETS members in obtaining adequate financial support to operate effectively without loss of independence.
  • To reinforce bi-lateral understandings between SAAE and various CAETS member Academies.
  • To gather information on CAETS projects with relevance to our own situation.

Fellow St Leger’s detailed report to SAAE is available at the SAAE offices and a copy has also been forwarded to DST who kindly funded the costs of the visit. The report reflects on the Proceedings at the Council Meeting and at the Conference and on important discussions with representatives of other Academies. SAAE was advised to submit an application for Membership of CAETS in time for acceptance at the next Convocation at Calgary in Canada in July 2009.  This recommendation has been accepted by SAAE and a formal written application was made.

DST Delegation to Japan

SAAE was invited by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to nominate an advisor on their Technical Visit to Japan on 9-13 June 2008. During the visit Fellow Roelf Sandenbergh made valuable contact with the Japanese Academy of Engineering. Future cooperation in various areas to the mutual benefit to both countries was discussed.  Contact with the Japanese Academy should be followed up at CAETS 2009.


The SAAE Draft Bill was finalized between SAAE and DST in 2007 and made available for comment.  Following comment received by the DST from interested organizations, the merits of SAAE becoming a statutory body and its relationship with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and the Departments of Science and Technology and of Public Works, was again debated in 2008.  No finality was reached and the move towards achieving statutory status was deferred to after the 2009 national elections.

The SACBE Draft Bill   Following publication by the Ministry of Public Works of a Draft Bill on the proposed SA Council for the Built Environment (SACBE) to replace the present CBE and include the six Professional Councils (including ECSA) as Boards for the Professions, the SAAE made representations to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Works.  The SAAE also provided Fellow Trevor Manuel, former Minister of Finance, with an opinion on this important matter in response to his request.  It is a matter of record that the proposed legislation was withdrawn from the legislative process late in 2008.

The Annual Hendrik van der Bijl Memorial Lecture was presented at the University of Pretoria on 28 May 2008 by Fellow Roelf Sandenbergh on the topic of Engineering Education. The presentation was very well received and is available on the SAAE website www.saae.co.za 
Technology Top 100 Awards (TT100), 21 February 2008.    SAAE, as an official sponsor of the TT100 Programme, 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.   

The SA Academy of Engineering faces an important challenge:  raise its level of relevance and effectiveness as a reliable source of informed advice for government, or face stagnation and the dire consequences.  Progress on various fronts was made during 2008/09 and the Academy goes into 2009/10 with good prospects for (a) joining the international fraternity, (b) expanding bilateral interaction with sister Academies and (c) fulfilling our role in South Africa.

The sound basis from which we can look forward is in large measure thanks to Fellow Bingle Kruger who was at the helm of the organisation as President for many years and to Fellow Bob St Leger who served as Vice President till May 2008.  To them we say “Thank you!”.

2009 Annual General Meeting  27 May 2009
South African Academy of Engineering

Fellow RA Pullen PrEng