3 February 2022. “We have the ability to rewrite the gloomy narrative which has dominated our lives in recent years – the pandemic and its challenges. We can overcome, we can recover. But we have a lot of work to do – as an industry we need to ask ourselves, where do we even begin?” This was the question posed by Olu Soluade, newly appointed president of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), at the Presidential Media Address hosted this morning in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Backed by a strong career in the consulting engineering industry, Soluade succeeds outgoing president Sugen Pillay and will serve for the 2022/23 period. In selecting his presidential theme for the year and in answering his opening question, Soluade has focused his message on “A Call to Service”.
“The construction industry was again the worst-performing sector in the economy in 2021. Whatever goals we are looking to achieve, whatever message we want to convey and whatever progress we want to make are underpinned not by the what, but by the how. We know what needs to be done to move our industry and our country forward – it is the way we do it which will define our success. I believe the time has come for us all to get involved in contributing to the economic recovery of our country.”
Soluade stated that being called to service should come naturally, even when juggling priorities. He believes there are four requirements for service:
- Availability: “We need to set aside and volunteer some of our time”.
- Willingness: “We cannot be coerced into service”.
- Sacrifice: “There will be tough decisions to make”.
- Vision: “We must keep an eye on the end goal”.
Soluade believes that leading by example is the hallmark of great service. “This means talking the talk and walking the walk – with integrity and excellence. Successfully working in service for this public need will greatly aid in achieving our goals and motivating our industry”.
In light of this, Soluade uncovered five core areas which will underpin CESA activities for the year ahead.
- Increase advocacy efforts in the area of sustainable transformation in respect of race, gender, and technology in our sector.
- Maintain the standards of professionalism and build on the levels of quality management whilst encouraging CESA members to integrate sustainability into the solutions offered to their clients.
- Improve on the business and advisory support to members and clients with an emphasis on best practice procurement.
- Continue efforts towards building and strengthening partnerships with government, private sector client bodies of our members as well as with other stakeholders.
- Ensure that good governance and integrity prevail within the industry and profession, particularly amongst CESA members as the apex body for the consulting engineering sector in the country.
CESA calls on President Ramaphosa to prioritise projects
“We call on President Cyril Ramaphosa, as he prepares for his State of the Nation address next week, to focus government’s efforts on unlocking the much publicised, close to R900billion project pipeline into shovel-ready projects. We believe the state can achieve this by leveraging as much of the technical and built environment capacity in the private sector as is needed to fill the gaps that exist in public sector as a matter of urgency,” said Soluade. He added that the public sector is generally regarded as the most important client to the industry, and the role of the public sector remains critical to the engineering profession.
“CESA is committed to acting in service of our industry and our country, to protecting lives and livelihoods, and to encouraging others to do the same. We remain available and willing to make sacrifices to achieve our vision. As a voluntary association, we are by nature in service and we call on others in our industry to set the example of serving with pride, integrity, honour, and discipline,” concluded Soluade.