Lack of Engineers Retarding Municipal Infrastructure Development

Dacre Haddon MPL

Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Local Government

Nine municipalities in the Eastern Province do not have Technical Directors or City Engineers in their service. This represents one fifth of the 45 municipalities in the province. This problem is contrary to the government commitment to emphasise, prioritise, enhance and develop infrastructure delivery and to be a catalyst for growth of the real economy throughout the country this financial year. Municipalities are unattractive work places for aspiring engineers. Generally, engineers are not keen to work for municipalities due to working conditions and remuneration packages which are more attractive in the private sector. I will be asking the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, that his department do a thorough analyses of the engineering situation in our municipalities and whether the infrastructural plans for the next Medium Term Expenditure Framework-period (MTEF) can be undertaken with the current engineering strength in our municipalities. Included in this survey I wish to ascertain what steps have and are being taken to attract graduate and other professional engineers to municipalities. Perhaps one thing we could consider would be a uniform policy of scarce skills allowances across the province in each municipality if this is feasible. Another scheme is to develop mentorship programmes and experiential working for engineering graduates on a sustained basis in every municipality. These and other issues like succession planning need to be confronted if this province is to attract high calibre engineers into all our municipalities In reply to a parliamentary question I was informed municipalities without engineering expertise were Nelson Mandela Metro, Cacadu District Municipality, Sundays River Valley, Blue Crane Route, Kouga, Ikwezi, Tsolwana, King Sabata Dalindyebo and Ntabankulu. For the reply, click here. Furthermore, with severe problems with water supply and dysfunctional sanitation services in municipalities, the lack of adequate engineers are having a detrimental effect on the quality and efficiency of these and other related services. This is a critical problem that needs immediate attention. Failure to adequately address this shortage of engineers will have severe consequences for current and future economic growth, job creation and service delivery in the province for the foreseeable future.

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