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Felix Fongoqa and I recently returned from a well attended 15th GAMA AGM and Convention in the picturesque and historical town of Tunis in Tunisia, also the home of the African Development Bank. The Convention was hosted under the patronage of the Tunisian Minister of Equipment, Habitat and Territory Management, by The Tunisian Association of Consulting Engineers in partnership with the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) and the Group of Africa Member Association (GAMA).  SAACE continues to perform the function of Secretariat to GAMA. The theme of the Convention was ‘Energy and the Environment’. The Convention was well attended with a total of 185 African participants and provided a brilliant opportunity for networking.

The conference was opened by a number of prominent industry players including Mrs Samira khayech Belhaj, the Tunisian Minister of Equipment, Habitat and Territory Management. A highlight for me was the opening presentation at the conference made by Dr. John Boyd, President of FIDIC, who presented a very interesting paper entitled, ‘Urban planning for energy efficiency’ relating to the Project Sustainability Management (PSM) Guidelines produced by FIDIC.  This was followed by a number of papers on energy and the environment presented in relation to sectors including transport; tourism; and banking. Dr. Enrico Vink Managing Director, FIDIC presented a paper titled, ‘Opportunities in energy and the environment’. 

11 countries attended the GAMA AGM which, although lengthy was very successful. Attendees included representatives from Zambia, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. The GAMA Constitution was reviewed and updated. Priority was assigned to the GAMA Business Plan which recommends creating permanent fulltime capacity to drive GAMA.  A call for proposals will soon be sent out calling for people to assist in providing interim capacity over the next 3 years. It is to be noted that a number of potential options for grant income have been explored which require follow up from the African Development Bank and other agencies. Mayen Aditiba from Nigeria was elected as the GAMA Chairman elect and she will take up office in 2009.

Roelof van Tonder, Manager IBDS, lead a delegation that included a number of member firms, on a visit to the African Development Bank for a Business Opportunity seminar. This also included a number of one-on-one discussions with the bank.

The next GAMA Convention is being hosted by our Association in Durban, South Africa from 15th - 18th March 2009. We look forward to an immense amount of support from our members, particularly in the KZN area.

Graham Pirie




The South African Association of Consulting Engineers’ President, Felix Fongoqa is currently in the process of visiting all of the Association’s nationwide branches to present his presidential message for the year.

Presidential visit to KwaZulu Natal

SAACE KZN members and their partners were invited to attend an annual client and member social function to meet National President Felix Fongoqa at the Durban Country Club in April.

Gauteng North and South Presidential Visit

The Gauteng North and South Presidential visit was once again combined this year at a function held at the Protea Hotel in Midrand. The guest speaker at this event was Mr Ismail Essa, Regional Manager North, SANRAL, who gave a very informative presentation on “The Gauteng Freeway Project and the positive impact on the South African Economy”.  Dr. Michele Kruger, SAACE YPF also gave a short presentation.





Complying with ISO standards South African Consulting Engineering Companies provide quality and a value driven service to a broad range of public and private sector clients within South Africa and throughout the Middle East and Africa.  These companies have the strategy and leadership to support the continued pursuit of excellence in keeping up with global trends and providing clients with world class solutions.

The International Business Development Section (IBDS) of the Association was created in response to South Africa’s re-entry into the international economy in 1994, and the globalization of the activities of Consulting Engineers. In 2008 the South African Department of Trade and Industry approved the formation of a Public Private Partnership between the Built Environment Industry and the Department of Trade and Industry taking the form of an Export Council. The strategic objective of the Built Environment Professionals Export Council (BEPEC) is to increase business opportunities for members as international services providers. In this regard a strategic partnership has been established between SAACE, the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS). The fundamental purpose of BEPEC is to facilitate international development activities.

BEPEC is a service provider of the highest international standard providing value for money solutions to clients across the African continent and these include:

  • Engaging in activities which focus on securing market access and funding access as well as generating increased business opportunities by adding value to member firms’ international business development activities.

  • Using a cross-sectional and lateral thinking approach to developing new markets via an in-house database system to facilitate JV’s, alliances and partnerships among consulting engineering firms and other industry role players. This results in reduced risk, increased market access, and assists members to gain maximum advantage and economies of scale when working internationally.

  • Facilitating market access at the commercial and political levels through the establishment of various export groupings in a Public Private Partnership with the South African Department of Trade and Industry.  Market Access is also ensured through active participation in the African Associations of select built environments.

  • Facilitating access to International Development funding as well as other Funding Institutions. The primary objective is to improve access to funding in South Africa for the execution of projects in Africa. International Funding Institutions include the World Bank, the African Development Bank and related funding agencies. The overall objective in this regard is to provide a clear pathway that firms can follow to access funding, including the South African Consultants Trust Funds at these institutions.

  • Ensuring access to South African funding institutions including commercial banks; DBSA, IDC and the Department of Trade and Industry based Capital Projects Feasibility Programme.



Nkosi's Haven

SSI Engineers and Environmental Consultants will once again be responsible for organising the Association’s Consultants Relay which will be taking place on Saturday the 30th August at Fountains Valley Resort in Pretoria.  This year the Association’s Young Professionals’ Forum is championing the Corporate Social Investment element of the Relay.

This year for the first time a sum of R50 will be donated by every team on behalf of the Association to a charity. Dr. Michele Kruger, YPF states, “We have selected Nkosi’s Haven as the preferred charity to receive these donations”. Gail Johnson, Director, Nkosi’s Haven is delighted to be the chosen charity commenting, “I just LOVE receiving emails like this, thank you so much for selecting Nkosi’s Haven as the preferred charity for the SAACE’s relay - stunning and thank you”. Michele has also arranged for a representative of the Nkosi’s Haven to be present on the day to receive the cheque.

Felix Fongoqa, SAACE President states, ”The YPF is to be congratulated in regard to this initiative, especially since HIV/Aids is one of the Association’s strategic initiatives for the years ahead”.

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The Young Professional Forum of the Western Cape, under the guidance of the local committee have been very active in the region:

During April a site visit was arranged to the Greenpoint Stadium where 30 YPF members attended a presentation on the history of Greenpoint and the stadium. The YP’s were then taken into the stadium to see the progress for themselves and to get a chance to ask a few questions.

In June they hosted an ECSA Professional Registration Workshop at UCT which was attended by approximately 110 YPF members. The guest speaker was Rod Harker and he gave a presentation on the registration requirements for engineers, technicians and technologists. The function was followed by a social "get -together".

On the 29th July the YPF will be hosting a Mentoring Workshop at UCT starting at 6pm. Five speakers, each from a different company, will be presenting on the mentoring programmes that are in place at their respective companies. The workshop is aimed at providing YPF members with suggestions on how to implement similar programmes at the companies that they work for.

JSD 2008



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Brenda Lacey-Smith, SAACE, holding the Association's ISO certificate

The Association is proud to announce that they have once again been audited by DEKRA and are pleased to report that they have retained their ISO 9001:2000 certification.

SAACE first received its ISO 9001:2000 certification in April 2004 valid for 3 years with an annual surveillance audit carried out over that period.  After the 3 year period the Association had to go through the full on site audit again to remain certified.  This was successfully completed in April 2007 and once again successfully in April this year.

Graham Pirie, CEO of SAACE, states that it is critical that the Association maintains a set of minimum requirements encompassing all areas of the organization in order to maintain certification. He states that “It is thanks to our staff and their input during our bi-weekly Quality meetings that has enabled us to maintain our ISO rating.  It has changed the way in which we manage our business and has had a beneficial effect on the manner in which we are able to satisfy the needs of our members”.

One of the requirements of being a member of the Association is that member companies must have an ISO based Quality Management System in place although at this stage the Association does not require companies to be ISO certified.  This is in response to Clients like the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) increasingly requiring their service providers to have a Quality Management System in place as a condition of tendering. In addition to this once the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) register is in place it is hoped this will be one of the criteria for registration.

The Association will gladly assist member companies with the process of implementing a quality management system within their organization.



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One of the functions of the Contractual Affairs division of the Association is to assist member firms with problems experienced relating to the procurement policies and practices of public sector clients.  Member firms approach the SAACE to engage their clients on these matters on their behalf, and in so doing protect themselves against possible prejudice. 

The following are some instances that constitute procurement practices that are frequently being implemented by public sector clients, and do not comply with government procurement legislation, regulations and prescripts.

Illegal set-asides:

The practice of excluding certain categories of bidders, due to them not being able to achieve a certain minimum threshold score for Black Economic Empowerment, also known as set-asides, is in conflict with the SA Constitution, 1996 and therefore illegal.  The National Department of Treasury has issued a circular confirming this (MFMA Circular No. 29).

Calls for tender proposals within six months of a previous call for proposals for the same or substantially the same scope of work:

The practice of cancelling and re-inviting tenders within a six month period, for the same or substantially the same scope of work is seen to be prejudicial to SAACE member firms and non-member firms alike.

The cancelling and re-invitation of tenders is only permissible in very specific circumstances according to the Regulations (2001) promulgated in terms of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (“PPPFA” Act No.5, 2000).  Regulations 10(1) – (3) describe the situation where all tenders values received were above R500 000 and the 80/20 preference point system was used or where all tenders received were below R500 000 and the 90/10 preference point system was used.  In such cases the tender invitation must be cancelled and tenders must be re-invited.  The Construction Industry Development Board (“CIDB”) has, however, indicated that to overcome this problem a client can indicate upfront in the tender criteria that the preference point system used will depend on the value of the tenders received.

In terms of the CIDB Standard for Uniformity, which is binding on all organs of state, and employer may not subsequent to the cancellation or abandonment of a tender process or the rejection of all responsive tender offers, re-issue a tender covering substantially the same scope of work, within a period of six months unless only one tender was received and such tender was returned, unopened, to the tenderer (CIDB Standard for Uniformity Annexure F, F.1.5.2)

The SAACE Code of Conduct (Clause 2.7) prohibits member firms, where no satisfactory reasons exist, to submit a proposal, whether priced or un-priced, for the same or substantially the same project for which proposals have previously been submitted, to the same body, within the preceding six months.  The SAACE has in the past instructed its member firms not to tender for a specific project in the above circumstance.

Limited time to submit tenders:

In this regard, the National Treasury “Guide for Accounting Officers of Municipalities and Municipal Entities” states that the Accounting Officer should, among others, ensure that “…... the information contained in the public advertisement must include: - the closure date for submission of bids, which may not be less than 30 days in the case of transactions over R10 million (Vat included), ….. or 14 days in any other case, from the date on which the advertisement is placed in a newspaper…”.  The document does mention that the Accounting Officer may determine a shorter period if it can be justified on the grounds of urgency or an emergency or in an exceptional case where it is impractical or impossible to follow the official procurement process.  A note is, however, added that “a lack of or bad planning does not constitute an urgency or emergency”.

Insufficient scope of services:

In terms of the National Treasury Guideline for Accounting Officers of Municipalities and Municipal Entities, Requests For Bids should be accompanied by a clear Terms of Reference (“TOR”) prepared by the Accounting Officer.  For more complex projects, a Request For Proposals must be made where consultants are requested and encouraged to propose their own methodology and to comment on the TOR in their proposals.  The TOR accompanying Requests For Bids should define as clearly as possible the objectives, goals and scope of the assignment including background information to facilitate the consultant in the preparation of its proposal.  It should be compiled in such a manner that consultants are able to propose their own methodology and staffing et cetera.

The Contractual Affairs Division of the Association also involves the CIDB and National Treasury in the correspondence relating to the above and other problematic practices and policies.  In the past this has proven very effective, and many positive results have been achieved.

Quentin Koen
Manager: Contractual Affairs

The Association congratulates Quentin Koen (Pr Eng) on recently obtaining his BA LLB.


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With the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) keen to move towards fewer open medical aid schemes and some employers no longer wanting the financial and legislative hassles of having their own in-house schemes, where does this leave the Bepmeds scheme, a restricted scheme aimed at members of supporting associations in the Built Environment Professions.  Chairman of Bepmeds Board of Trustees, Roelof van Tonder believes it places Bepmeds in a healthy position, enjoying the best of both worlds.

Says van Tonder: “The CMS is looking at consolidation in the open market. They would like fewer schemes in the hope of having more well- informed members as less schemes mean fewer benefit options. They would thus compete on quality, cost of health care delivery and efficiency of administration. Secondly, many employers no longer want the bother of managing and underwriting their own health schemes.”

He says Bepmeds is an unusual scheme in that it is a restricted scheme but competes in the open market.  “Members are represented in a more personal, accessible and transparent manner. The trustees, as members of the built environment profession, also have a great understanding of the needs of the professionals.” Furthermore, with Momentum as its administrator members still enjoy the benefits of an open scheme with competitive rates and benefits.
Other news just in from Bepmeds is that the scheme has opened up membership to the Association of Construction Project Managers (ACPM).

Welcoming ACPM on board, van Tonder said the trustees believed that ACPM shared the same commitment and high professional standards as existing members and provided an opportunity to grow membership within the built environment professions.