2009-2010 Annual Report

South African Academy of Engineering

12th Annual Report

1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010

R A Pullen




The past year has been one of mixed fortunes for the engineering profession: continued momentum from the high level of activity associated with intensive investment in infrastructure throughout the country, and the inevitable consequences of the world-wide economic meltdown. The public sector continues to invest in infrastructure – not only that associated with being host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but also that essential for lifting service delivery to the nation and for enabling socio-economic growth.


Then there were the National elections in April 2009, resulting in changes among the political leaders and the senior executives in government departments with whom the Academy seeks to develop the relationship necessary for it to fulfill its mission of providing independent, evidence-based advice.


The focus during the year has been to strengthen relationships with our international associates while continuing to strengthen the foundation of the Academy in South Africa.


Exco and AGM Meetings

Four Exco Meetings took place during the Financial Year 2009/2010, on 13 May 2009,  19 August 2009,  18 November 2009  and  9 February 2010. The 12th AGM took place on 27 May 2009.



The following new Fellows were elected at the AGM held on 27 May 2009:




Aldrich, Prof Christiaan

Professor, Department of Process Engineering, University of Stellenbosch

Chaba,  Malose Philip

Executive Director, Murray & Roberts Limited

Cruise, Dr John Anthony

Consulting Mining Engineer

Duma, Simphiwe

Chief Executive and Chief Engineer, Psidot Technology Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Dunaiski, Prof Peter Ernst

Professor in Structural Engineering, University of Stellenbosch

Du Toit,  Prof Madeleine

Prof and Head of Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pretoria

Fletcher, Prof Jack

Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town

Katz, Prof Zvi

Professor and Morris Gillman Chair in Manufacturing, University of Johannesburg

Kearsley, Prof  Elizabeth Paulina

Head of Department of Civil Engineering, University of Pretoria

Macdonald, Dr Hylton K J

Group Risk Manager, Aveng Ltd

Majozi, Prof Thokozani

Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pretoria

Meyer, Prof Petrie

Departmental Chairman, Department E&E Eng, University of Stellenbosch

Naidoo,Pragalathan Dhanapalan

Executive Chairman, PD Naidoo and Associates

Perold, Prof Willem Jacobus

Vice Dean: Research, Faculty of Engineering, University  of Stellenbosch

Steyn, Dr Willem Hermanus

Professor, Department E&E Engineering, University of Stellenbosch

Tapson, Prof Jonathan

Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town


The new Fellows were welcomed by the President at Induction Dinners held in Gauteng and the Western Cape in October 2009.


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 2008 – 2010                                

The Executive Committee elected for 2008-2010 was as follows:




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

Dr Bingle Kruger

Retired CEO, BKS      

Mr Braam  le Roux

Retired CEO, Spoornet

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


Dr Fauconnier tended his resignation from the Committee for personal reasons and was replaced by Mr Dempsey Naidoo in November 2009.


The Office Bearers during 2009-2010 were:

President :             Fellow Bob Pullen

Vice Presidents :   Fellow Roy Marcus

                              Fellow Trueman Goba

                              Fellow  Roelf Sandenbergh

Treasurer :            Fellow Braam le Roux


Western Cape Induction Dinner:

The Murray and Roberts – WBHO Greenpoint Stadium Joint Venture sponsored the Induction Dinner at Kelvin Grove in Cape Town on 8 October 2009.  Mr Ray Gamble, Deputy CEO of the Greenpoint Stadium Joint Venture, delivered an excellent illustrated presentation on the construction of the stadium to a most appreciative audience of  52   people. SAAE gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of the dinner by the Consortium.


Gauteng Induction Dinner

On 28 October 2009 BKS(Pty)Ltd hosted the Gauteng Induction Dinner at the Pretoria Country Club. Prof Rosalie Finlayson, Human Resources Development, UNISA, delivered a captivating address  Embracing our Diversity : Trends in Cross-cultural Communication. The dinner was attended by 57 guests. The SAAE acknowledges with appreciation the sponsorship of the dinner by Fellow Danai Magugumela and her company.





The highlight of the year for the Academy was admission as the 26th member of the Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS). This occurred in terms of a unanimous resolution of the CAETS Council meeting in Calgary, Canada, in July 2009. The SAAE made application for membership in November 2008 and was visited by CAETS representatives in June 2009 to assess the merits of the application. 


Fellows Bob Pullen, President, and Roelf Sandenbergh, Deputy President, represented the SAAE at the CAETS Council meeting and Convocation in Calgary. A report on these meetings is on record at the SAAE.


Attendance at the CAETS meetings in Calgary provided an opportunity for our representatives to build and cement relationships with other academies from around the world.


During February 2009 the SAAE was visited by representatives from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) who were in South Africa with a delegation of their Department  of  Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR). During this visit to SA, the Programme of Cooperation  between the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and DIISR was signed. In terms of this programme,  ATSE and SAAE were invited to arrange a joint workshop on Energy Technologies for a Low Carbon Future. Arrangements for this joint workshop, which is scheduled to take place in Gauteng in September 2010, are progressing well.


In March 2009 ATSE convened a workshop in  Melbourne entitled Electricity Generation – Accelerating Technological Change. SAAE was invited to make a presentation on the situation in South Africa. Fellow Adie Patterson, who is now resident in Australia, kindly acceded to represent SAAE and make the presentation. He was ably assisted by colleagues back home and the presentation was highly acclaimed. 

Building on this liaison with ATSE, SAAE was invited to participate as one of five corresponding member Academies on their project entitled Evaluation of Strategies to Deploy Low Emissions technologies for Electric Power Generation in Response to Climate Change. This project was accepted by the CAETS Council as being worthy of its support. The ATSE Task Team guiding this project met in Tokyo early in March 2010 and SAAE was represented there by Fellow Willem du Preez whose contribution was highly valued. 


In September 2009 SAAE  hosted a delegation of  eight senior university officials from Nigeria at the request of Dr Thomas Auf der Heyde, Deputy Director-General: International Cooperation and Resources, of the Department of Science and Technology. The main purpose of the visit was to learn from South African experiences in order to strengthen the economic and innovation functions of the Nigerian higher education system in respect of science, technology and innovation. Fellows Liesbeth Botha and Coen Bester assisted the President to provide the delegation with the required information.


 In February 2010 SAAE received a request from the Irish Academy of Engineering to assist with a survey to assess the impact of engineering research on economic development particularly through industrial innovation.




The Annual Hendrik van der Bijl Memorial Lecture was presented at the University of Pretoria on 27 May 2009 by Mr Alan Knott-Craig, former CEO of Vodacom. His lecture on the development of telecommunications, particularly cellular telephony, in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa was very well received and is available on the SAAE website www.saae.co.za 


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.   




The SA Academy of Engineering has made important strides during the past year in consolidating its position in the engineering and technology community in South Africa. Attention is now focused on proving the relevance and effectiveness of SAAE as a reliable source of informed advice for government. It is critically important that SAAE establishes a substantial and reliable source of financial support for this step forward to be realized.


2010 Annual General Meeting  19 May 2010

South African Academy of Engineering

Fellow RA Pullen PrEng