2013 – 2014 Annual Report


16th Annual Report

1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014


R A Pullen




During 2013/14 the SAAE maintained its level of activity of the past few years and strengthened its relationship with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). The benefits of being accommodated in the ASSAf office in Pretoria are being realized with increasing levels of cooperation and good lines of communication. The SAAE has maintained its connection with the international network of Academies through membership of CAETS. Membership of the SAAE has been maintained at a stable number of Fellows of 170. Various strategies are in place to secure financial sustainability without having to rely solely on members’ subscription fees and on ad hoc donations. While a grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) was not forthcoming in 2013/14, this support is again available for 2014/15. Only with such resources at its disposal can the Academy embark on really meaningful activities on a sustainable basis to achieve its objectives in the interest of the country and of all its people.


The SA Academy of Engineering must now identify ways in which it can inform debates on the many aspects of the economic development of the country in which the engineering perspective can make a difference.


Executive Committee (Exco)


The Executive Committee (Exco) of the SAAE for 2012/13 and 2013/14 comprised the following members:

Dr E Botha                             Mr DB Botha

Mr S Duma                            Mr T Goba

Prof S Heyns                          Dr J Maina

Mr PD Naidoo (resigned)      Prof C O’Connor

Mr RA Pullen                        Dr M Shand

Dr K Wall (part term).


Fellow RA Pullen was elected President of the SAAE for the past two-year term and Fellow T Goba was elected Vice President. Fellow Liesbeth Botha took over the Treasurer portfolio when Fellow PD Naidoo stood down from the Exco in January 2013.


It is with sincere appreciation that I record my thanks to the members of the Executive Committee who graciously made their valuable time available to the SAAE during the past two years. This is highly appreciated.


Four Exco Meetings took place during the Financial Year 2013/14 on the following dates:

78th Meeting – 14 August 2013

79th Meeting – 13 November 2013

80th Meeting –  26 February 2014,  and

81st Meeting –  21 May 2014.


The Exco meetings took place in video-conference or tele-conference format, depending on the availability of facilities in Pretoria and Cape Town. I wish to thank ASSAf, Aurecon and Aecom for their kind and generous support in this regard.


I also wish to again record the sincere appreciation of the SAAE for the office accommodation and other support provided by ASSAf in their offices at The Woods, Persequor Technopark, Pretoria. This support comes at no direct cost to the SAAE. It is reassuring to have a fixed address for the Academy, with access to many facilities and support not previously enjoyed. This gesture from the ASSAf Council is greatly appreciated.



16th Annual General Meeting


The 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the SAAE took place in the Vulindlela Conference facility at the DBSA in Midrand on 29 May 2013. This was followed by a presentation by Professor Philip Lloyd of the First Annual Academy Lecture entitled Opportunities for Low Carbon Energy Technologies for Power Generation.




The following new Fellows were elected at the AGM held on 29 May2013, bringing the membership to 170:

  • Garbers-Craig, Prof Andrie, Associate Professor, Faculty of BET, University of Pretoria,
  • Ijumba, Prof Nelson Mutatina,  Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Kies, Carl Frederik, CEO, Reutech Radar Systems.
  • Kirby, Andrew, General Manager, Lexus Planning Division (Worldwide), Toyota Motor Corporation, Nagoya, Japan.
  • Murray, Johann, Managing Director, Ultimate Air Solutions (Pty) Ltd.
  • Pidgeon, John Terry, Director of Research, Centre for Excellence in Foundation Engineering.
  • Pirie, Graham, Chief Executive Officer, CESA.
  • Ramjugernath, Prof Deresh, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Scheeres, Adriaan,CEO and co-founder of Pragma Holdings.



The newly elected Fellows were welcomed by the President and by Members at Induction Dinners held in Pretoria on 30 October 2013 and in Cape Town on 5 November 2013.


Western Cape Induction Dinner

The 2013 Induction Dinner was hosted by the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Cape Town, at the Kelvin Grove Club on 5 November 2013. Professor Francis Peterson, Dean of the Faculty, delivered a presentation on the development of the engineering  schools at UCT. 47 Fellows and their guests attended the gathering.


Gauteng Induction Dinner

On 30 October 2013 the University of Pretoria hosted the Gauteng Induction Dinner in the Exhibition Space of the new Mining Industry Study Centre in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and IT. Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, delivered an inspiring address on the importance of the Engineering Schools at the University and the growth of these schools in providing engineering expertise for South Africa


SAAE gratefully acknowledges the generous sponsorship of the 2013 Induction Dinners by the Universities of Cape Town and of Pretoria.




Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS)

The Hungarian Academy of Engineering (HAE) hosted the 21st Council Meeting and Symposium at the Gellert Hotel, Budapest, Hungary, from 26 June 2013 to 29 June 2013. The SAAE was represented by Fellow Bob Pullen, President, and by Fellow Philip Lloyd. Funding for the SAAE affiliation fee to CAETS and attendance at the annual meetings in Hungary was derived from the grant from DST received in 2012.


Fellow Pullen served on the CAETS Board of Directors and the Board’s Audit Committee. Election to the Board of Directors was for 2013 and 2014. The CAETS Symposium focused on Innovative Approaches to Engineering Education. Fellow Pullen was appointed to lead a discussion in the Council meeting on the subject of Promoting STEM K-12, i.e. science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Kindergarten to Grade 12.


The CAETS Council received and adopted a Report from an ATSE-led Working Group on the Deployment of Low-emission Technologies for Electric Power Generation in Response to Climate Change. This working group was changed to a Sub-committee of the CAETS Council and was charged with a year-long task of reporting on the Preparedness of Countries to Move from Traditional Energy Sources to Renewable Sources (with emphasis on transportation and buildings). The Energy Sub-committee decided to meet in Cape Town, South Africa, in November 2013 to prepare its Report. The Sub-committee is convened by Dr Baldev Raj of the INAE and Fellow Philip Lloyd has played a prominent role in compiling and editing the Report. The Report of the Sub-committee was not in a state to be presented to the CAETS Council for adoption at its meeting in Beijing on 3 June 2014 and the Sub-committee was given more time to finalize the Report.


The CAETS Council confirmed that the 2014 Meetings would take place in Beijing, China, in June 2014 and in New Delhi in 2015. The CAETS Meetings in Beijing have taken place and the SAAE was represented by Fellows Bob Pullen, Trueman Goba, Mike Shand and Philip Lloyd. A full report on these activities will be presented in due course.


Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE)

No formal activities have been initiated in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on joint activities which was entered into with the Chinese Academy of Engineering in December 2012. The MoU envisages a range of joint activities over a period of three years.


German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)

Discussions with acatech are still in progress regarding proposals for raising relationships between our two Academies to a higher level through active cooperation. The intention is that such an agreement be documented in a MoU. A draft agreement has been compiled for consideration and attention is now being given to an action plan for a period of three years. Issues relating to the relative sizes and strengths of the two Academies are now being considered.



Technology Top 100 Awards (TT100)

SAAE is a long-standing supporter of the TT100 Program which provides encouragement for innovative technological development. This is vital for South Africa to become more competitive in the global economy.   SAAE Fellows assist in the process of adjudicating submissions for the awards.


Annual Academy Lecture

The second in the series of Annual Academy Lectures, an initiative for developing activities in South Africa where members can actively participate and contribute their knowledge and experience for the benefit of society, was presented by Prof Mike Muller in Cape Town on 7 November 2013. The title of the Lecture was The Wicked Challenge of Sustaining South Africa’s Water Security.The intention is to repeat the Lecture in other centres in SA during 2014.


Annual Hendrik van der Bijl Lecture

Prof Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria and a UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, was invited to deliver the Hendrik van der Bijl Lecture at the University of Pretoria on 14 August 2013. Prof Heyns presented a captivating lecture on Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LARs): Coming to a Theatre Near You that was appreciated by an audience of about 70 people.



During the Financial Year 2013/14 the total assets of the Academy increased from       R165 372 to R186 619, represented primarily by cash in the bank. The assets represent primarily retained income. There are no liabilities to be met.


Income during the year amounted to R184 228, down from R342 518 in 2012/13 when a grant was received from the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The main sources of income were membership fees of R146 900, donations and sponsorships of R33 000, and interest of R4 328.The main items of expense were the costs associated with being affiliated to CAETS (including attendance at annual CAETS Council meetings) and Administration Fees. The Academy enjoys generous support from sponsors for functions such as Induction Dinners and public lectures and the value of this support is accounted for as income from donations. Costs associated with such events are reflected against the relevant expense item to better reflect the level of activity in the organization. At the time of writing it is known that the DST has again made a grant of about R250 000 available to the SAAE, channeled through the accounts of the ASSAf, for use during 2014/15.


The Academy is making every effort to secure external sources of financial support so as to be able to undertake the kind of activities which are necessary to build a sustainable organization of value to South African society. This includes mobilizing the knowledge and experience of its members to formulate independent, evidence-based advice, usually on policy issues, for transmission to Government.




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



Fellow RA Pullen PrEng                                      2014 Annual General Meeting

President                                                                 South African Academy of Engineering


18 June 2014