Prof Mike Muller presented this lecture on Tuesday 10 April at Nelson Mandela University, North Campus, Summerstrand – Faculty of Engineering, New Engineering Building – Venue 276-0-0003
Nelson Mandela Bay is already in the grip of water supply restrictions and, over the next decade, Gauteng could experience a water crisis far worse than that currently afflicting Cape Town. Ethekwini and Mangaung are also at risk. In all cases, there are ways to avoid allowing risks to turn into crises. But can engineers make a difference? Too often, our sound technical advice is ignored. Why is that? We need to ask: What does society want from engineers and the engineering and related technical professions? Technicians who will just do what they are told by their bosses, regardess of the consequences? Skilled professionals who will give sound advice and ensure effective delivery of excellent projects? Leaders who will transform their organisations and society? Can we have the whole package? Or do we first need to decolonise the professions and what would that mean? This lecture will provide some perspectives, through the lens of water, on the challenges that engineers and all technical professions face in a 21st century non-racist, non-sexist, democratic South Africa.