2014 – 2015 Annual Report

South African Academy of Engineering

17th Annual Report
1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015
R A Pullen


The SAAE was able to consolidate its level of activity during 2014/15 with support of a grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) which is acknowledged with thanks. Being accommodated in the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) office in Pretoria has also been of great benefit, mainly through increased levels of cooperation and good lines of communication. The SAAE has maintained its participation in the international network of Academies through membership of CAETS and the membership has increased slightly to 177. Strategies adopted some years ago to secure financial sustainability without having to rely solely on members’ subscription fees and on ad hoc donations are being maintained. The SA Academy of Engineering has taken steps to inform debates on the many aspects of the economic development of the country in which the engineering perspective can make a difference but progress has been slow.

Executive Committee (Exco)

The Executive Committee (Exco) of the SAAE for the period 2014 – 2016 comprises the following members:
Prof M Alexander Mr D Botha
Mr T Goba Prof S Heyns
Dr J Maina Prof C O’Connor
Mr R Pullen Dr M Shand
Dr K Wall

Fellow RA Pullen was elected President of the SAAE for this two-year term and Fellow T Goba was elected Deputy President. Fellow M Shand is responsible for the Treasurer portfolio. It is with sincere appreciation that I record my thanks to the members of the Executive Committee who made their valuable time available to the SAAE during the past year. This is highly appreciated.

Four Exco Meetings took place during the Financial Year 2014/15 on the following dates:
81st Meeting –21 May 2014
82nd Meeting –30 July 2014
83rdMeeting – 12 November 2014, and
84th Meeting – 9 March 2015.

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 and Aurecon 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.

17th Annual General Meeting

The 17th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the SAAE took place in the Dorothy Suskind Auditorium, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, on 18 June 2014. This was followed by a presentation by Professor Mike Muller of the Second Annual Academy Lecture entitled The wicked challenge of sustaining South Africa’s water security.


The following new Fellows were elected at the AGM held on 18 June 2014, bringing the membership to17
Basson, Prof Gerrit Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Stellenbosch.
Muller, Floris Petrus Johannes Director / CEO, MLS Test Systems (Pty) Ltd
Watermeyer, Dr Ronald Basil Director, Infrastructure Options (Pty)Ltd

The newly elected Fellows were welcomed by the President and by Members at Induction Dinners held in Johannesburg The Western Cape Induction Dinner took place on 4 November 2014 at the Kelvin Grove Club and was hosted by the Faculty of Engineering of Stellenbosch University. Prof Hansien Knoetze, Dean of the Faculty, was the guest speaker. The Gauteng Induction Dinner was hosted by the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment of the University of the Witwatersrand on 1 October 2014 in the Wits Club on the West Campus. The speaker was Prof Ian Jandrell, the Dean of the Faculty. SAAE gratefully acknowledges the generous sponsorship of the 2014 Induction Dinners by the University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University.


Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS)
The Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) hosted the 22nd CAETS Council Meeting and Conference in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China from 1- 4 June 2014. The SAAE was represented by Fellows Bob Pullen, Trueman Goba,Mike Shand and Philip Lloyd. Funding for the SAAE affiliation fee to CAETS and attendance at the annual meetings in China was derived from the grant from DST.

The CAETS Conference focused on Engineering and the Future of Humankind.
The CAETS Council Sub-committee charged with preparing a Report on the Preparedness of Countries to Move from Traditional Energy Sources to Renewable Sources (with emphasis on transportation and buildings), which is convened by Dr Baldev Raj of the INAE, met after the Conference and submitted a progress report to Council. The Committee had a further meeting in Berlin, Germany, in November 2014. Fellow Philip Lloyd, who represents the SAAE on this Committee, plays a prominent role in compiling and editing the Report. The CAETS Council confirmed that the 2015 Meetings would take place in Delhi, India, in October 2015.

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 number of 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.


Technology Top 100 Awards (TT100)

Annual Academy Lecture
The third 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 Dr Steve Lennon in Cape Town on 16 October 2014, Johannesburg on 16 March 2015 and in Durban on 23 March 2015. The title of the Lecture was “Opportunities for South Africa’s Electricity Power Sector”


During the Financial Year 2014/15 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. 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 2015 Annual General Meeting
President South African Academy of Engineering
17 June 2015


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