The appeal by eThekwini Municipality for retired engineers to assist in the management of infrastructure and training of future engineers (The Mercury, July 24) is ironic given the way so many of those professionals were denied promotion and elbowed out of the way in fulfilment of demographic quotas.
In 2005 the SA Institute of Civil Engineering warned that the country faced an engineering crisis because then only some 627 professionals were entering the market place annually. The Institute projected that between 3,000 and 6,000 technologists, technicians and engineers would be needed additionally before the decade was over (see: Business Report, October 25, 2005).
In 2005 municipalities reported, on average, 35% vacancies of engineering staff. In metropolitan councils, the vacancy rate was 45%. The Institute estimated that unless R200 billion was spent on infrastructure upgrading and maintenance by 2012 and appropriate interventions were made, water-borne disease would become widespread and existing infrastructure would progressively break down.
As is daily evident, that advice was ignored and those consequences are now upon us. The state of Eskom, as Andre De Ruyter illustrated comprehensively in his book, is the glaring case in point. The ANC is reaping what it has sown. Tragically, the whole country has to suffer the cost of its socialist, racist ideology which has caused so many of our young technicians to emigrate. Two of my sons, both gifted technicians, now reside in Australia.