CESA’s Platinum Jubilee: Celebrating 70 years of Partnering for Engineering Excellence

CESA’s Platinum Jubilee: Celebrating 70 years of Partnering for Engineering Excellence

This year marks CESA’s 70th anniversary. Our Platinum Jubilee celebrates our organisation’s remarkable and most enduring history of contributing to the representation and development of the all-important engineering sector within South Africa, and therefore we have much to celebrate.

Apex Organisation for Consulting Engineering Sector
The fact that we are celebrating our 70th anniversary this year is testament to the critical role we have played within the engineering sector since the organisation was first established at a meeting of specialist consulting engineering practitioners back in 1952. That was a time in which engineering design, construction and supervision was conducted by the then chief engineers, city engineers and town engineers and there were but a handful of expert practitioners in the private sector. Now, all these years later, we have close on 600 members and have unquestionably become the apex organisation of the consulting engineering sector.

Impact of COVID-19
The past decade has been a particularly eventful one for South Africa and the industry. The COVID-19 pandemic had an important impact on the country’s economy in recent years and has contributed to setting back a number of infrastructure development initiatives, as well as the broader SA economy. Within this constrained environment, we have played a critical role in supporting our members, the broader built environment and construction sector, while contributing to the development of practitioners both in the public and private sectors. At the same time requiring members to always provide the highest standard of services with the utmost integrity.

Serving as the channel to address industry concerns
With the aim of assisting in optimising the planning and delivery of infrastructure projects both in the public and private sector, CESA has continued to serve as the channel for clients to address industry concerns while at the same time providing a platform for the sharing of information.

Strong Member Support
CESA would not of course be in such a robust position today without the strong volunteer membership culture of our member companies, who have continued to provide support, insights, and strategic direction to the organisation through the years. Members know that CESA is there with them for the long haul, assisting to not only maintain the integrity of the industry, but also work to grow and develop the sector on an ongoing basis.

Outstanding ‘Voice’ of Consulting Engineering in South Africa
All of this has served to keep CESA at the forefront of the engineering and construction industries and the outstanding ‘voice’ of Consulting Engineering in South Africa. We have a proud history and legacy of driving positive change in the industry and as can be seen from our continuously growing membership. We have continued to thrive over the years and most definitely during the past decade.

Promotion of Transformation, Diversity and Inclusivity
One of our strategic goals is to ‘promote continuous improvement in the transformation of the sector’. In South Africa there is a recognition of the need to develop local capacity to address the backlogs in infrastructure resulting from the Apartheid era. This has necessitated the focus on capacity development and through our member base, CESA has developed the means for larger established companies to partner with newer SMME businesses and for the latter to participate in public sector projects, where possible. This has worked to address inequalities in access to business, as well as to support and capacitate these small businesses.

Notably at present, more than 70% of member companies are more than 51% Black owned and of these, 3,1% are owned by Black women. Two thirds of the member firms have a staff of 20 or less and 50% less than 10. Many of these being emerging consulting engineering organisations are either majority owned or wholly owned by Black South Africans. The number of Black owned and managed firms joining CESA has grown from 38% in 2009 to 55% in 2022. This is in full support of the Government’s transformation targets.

Skills Development within Consulting Engineering
Celebrating 20 years of service excellence, our CESA School of Consulting Engineering (SCE) was launched in 2002 and after a modest start with a few one-day courses offered on subjects relevant to the consulting engineer, the school today offers more than one hundred courses country-wide and has provided training to thousands of practitioners. The SCE courses go a long way to ensuring skills development and the retention of skills within the consulting industry.

Also celebrating a 10 year anniversary this year, the SCE launched our flagship Business of Consulting Engineering (BCE) Certificate Programme, in 2012. The BCE Programme is tailor-made to equip future leaders in the business and management of consulting engineering companies and has had a hand in the accelerated development of some 150 practitioners.

Growing our own Timber
In 2004, CESA established our Young Professionals Forum (YPF) – a division within the organisation serving the needs of professional engineers, technologists, and technicians in member firms, who are under the age of 35. This platform has provided young practitioners with a platform to network and grow. One such platform is the YPF Imbizo that is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Award-winning International Footprint
CESA became a member of International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) in 1959 and a member of its regional grouping the Group of African Member Associations (GAMA) in 1981 which in 2020 was renamed FIDIC Africa with CESA playing the important role as Secretariat to this Regional Grouping representing the African continent. Testimony to this is the fact that CESA has been recognised during two FIDIC Award ceremonies both in 2019 in Mexico City as well as online in 2021 for our achievements amongst FIDIC’s 106 country member associations.

50 years of Celebrating Excellence in Engineering
For 50 years, the engineering excellence of CESA member firms has been celebrated at our annual CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards. This is a showcase of both our member firms and their projects in all engineering fields, which are world class in their standards of design and innovation and enhance the quality of life of the public and the communities served by our member firms.

Outlook for the Future:
With a multitude of anniversaries to commemorate in 2022 we remain committed to the promotion of excellence in the consulting engineering industry on behalf of our members and stakeholders. Our aim is to strengthen and enhance our role as the ‘voice’ of the industry over the next decade and into the future. As a multiple award-winning organisation, we remain committed to the promotion of excellence in the consulting engineering industry on behalf of our members and stakeholders. We continue to strive not only to develop and support the consulting engineering sector, but also to have a meaningful impact on the lives of all South Africans. And so, our wish for our organisation is another 70 years of fruitful contribution to the sector and country as we continue in our quest to Protect Lives and Livelihoods!

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