Author: Danielle Petterson

WEC Projects welcomes new technical director

South Africa’s water sector issues can be overcome with a renewed public private sector partnership that prioritises technical skills. That’s the word from newly-installed WEC Projects Technical Director, Gunter Rencken, who believes South Africa’s current challenges are not insurmountable. “Technical ability and policy direction must be in sync and other sectors have shown they can be,” says Rencken – a 32-year veteran of the local water industry. Rencken’s PhD in Chemical Engineering was the precursor to a short stint at the Uranium Enrichment Corporation from 1982 to 1986 where he further developed the hands-on orientation that sees him perform at his best when getting to grips at the coalface of the organisation. His PhD is complemented by an MBA in Project Management from Henley Business School in the UK. Rencken’s career history also includes time with Umgeni Water from 1986 to 1993; Debex Water (a subsidiary of De Beers) from 1993 to 1996, Envig from 1996 to 1997, USFilter... Read More

The science of quality water

Ryno Erdmann, Group CEO, Aquatico, discusses the importance of laboratory testing and the services Aquatico has to offer.   Tell me about Aquatico and the laboratory services you offer the water sector. RE Aquatico is an established environmental monitoring and testing company that has been in operation since 1996. We are a proud service provider that offers cutting-edge technology and innovation to our extensive customer base. Aquatico Laboratories offers the testing of ground-, waste-, surface and drinking water across all sectors of society, including mining and industries, municipalities and government, as well as estates and private homeowners. What kind of water assessments can you offer your clients? We offer inorganic analysis of major cations and anions, trace metals, microbiological analyses and organic analyses. Emphasis is placed on turning environmental data into management information that can assess risk as measured against legislative criteria. What accreditations does your laboratory have? Aquatico is a Sanas-accredited testing laboratory (No. T0685) governed by ISO/IEC... Read More

Half of indebted municipalities to cough up

Speaking at the Water Infrastructure Investment Summit in Sandton yesterday, Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane announced that 16 of the 30 defaulting municipalities have approached her department in an attempt to reach a payment agreement. This comes after the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) threatened to cut water to the top 30 defaulting municipalities if they failed to settle all their water debt older than 60 days. At that time the department faced an outstanding water debt of R10.7 billion, with 73% of that amount being outstanding for longer than 60 days.   Water is not free Addressing the non-payment issue at the summit yesterday, panellist Lindiwe Mkonza from ChiefKasi Water argued that the perception around water in South Africa needs to change. “Water is not free. Rainwater is free, however processed water to your tap is not,” she emphasised. Mkonza believes that in order to for South Africa to get the funding it needs for... Read More

Gearing up for International No-Dig South Africa 2018

The International No-Dig Conference and Exhibition is coming to South Africa for the first time in 2018, and will bring with it knowledge from across the globe on the latest techniques and trends in trenchless technology. The conference hosted by the Southern African Society for Trenchless Technology (SASTT) will take place in Cape Town on 8 and 9 October next year. This major forum will bring together engineers from across the globe to network with like-minded professionals. The comprehensive conference programme will include papers on the latest innovations and techniques, as well as case study presentations with a regional focus. The two-day event will also feature a mix of technical sessions, while a lively and informative exhibition will showcase the very latest technology and products. International No-Dig South Africa is, therefore, a must-attend event for all municipal engineers and technicians, consultants, engineers, traffic authority managers, developers, utility providers and design consultants involved in any aspect of the installation or refurbishment... Read More

Insights into SA’s water security

In May, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane made greater water security for all South Africans a priority, with the department setting a R15.1 billion budget for the 2017/18 financial year. In light of this, and given the country’s ongoing water shortage challenges, it is imperative to implement models for large infrastructure projects in the water and sanitation sector to ensure water security. To achieve this, government needs to build, maintain and refurbish water and sanitation infrastructure. Unlocking economic development “The key is for government to plan and identify the large projects required to unlock the economic development in line with the national development plan,” says Teboho Mofokeng, Technical Executive at GIBB. Water and sanitation projects can have an impact on a wide variety of sectors, including mining, health, housing, and energy, to name a few. Engagement across all government sectors is therefore key to identifying and prioritising the projects that will be most beneficial to the economy. South... Read More

Grayston Bridge inquiry to resume this month

The M1 Grayston Bridge inquiry will resume on 26 September after it was postponed in August last year. The inquiry seeks to establish the cause of the collapse of the M1 pedestrian and cyclist bridge on 14 October 2015, which resulted in the death of two people and injury to 19 others. The inquiry was instituted by the Department of Labour in terms of section 32 of the Occupation, Health and Safety Act, and is being conducted by Lennie Samuel. A number of witnesses have already appeared on behalf of Murray & Roberts, the principal contractor, and Form-Scaff, the scaffolding supplier on the project. A number of suspected causes for the collapse emerged during last year’s testimony, including that wind together with structural weaknesses was responsible for the collapse of the temporary structures, as well as that structure was not in line with the design. It is expected that more witnesses will be called and that the inquiry will conclude... Read More

Engineering sector strike averted

The engineering sector narrowly escaped a strike by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) workers after the union agreed to sign the wage proposal offered by SEIFSA, a federation of employer associations. Numsa, which represents 129 000 workers in the engineering sector, threatened a sector-wide strike after wage negotiations stalled. This came after the trade union rejected a proposed 5.3% wage hike offer in demand of a 15% increase. “Although Numsa had initially demanded a 15% across the board wage increase for our members, in recognition of the extreme suffering they experience as a result of low wages. However we decided to compromise because we wanted to save the bargaining council and to ensure that centralised bargaining is sustainable. We are also mindful of the dire economic situation which is affecting the economy and the impact that it’s had on the companies,” Numsa said in a statement. “We believe that this is the best agreement in the... Read More

Cape Town to transform public transport

The City of Cape Town’s Council has adopted the City’s Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) Business Plan. The IPTN Business Plan outlines how the City can transform Cape Town’s public transport system, while at the same time ensuring the long-term financial and fiscal sustainability of operations. The plan proposes significant involvement of the minibus-taxi industry in future MyCiTi service roll-outs. It also foresees that innovative information technologies such as e-hailing and mobile applications will enable minibus-taxis to provide demand-responsive services. “The business rationale stems from the lessons that we have learned from the implementation of Phase 1 of the MyCiTi service. It takes into account the current economic climate and how we can take advantage of new emerging technologies to make public transport in Cape Town more efficient,” explains the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron. “We intend to do this by reducing costs and congestion, increasing the shift from private to public... Read More

Integrity of original equipment manufacturers

By Nobuzwe Mangcu, Managing Executive – SATMC Manufacturing has inevitably become a highly competitive arena where manufacturers have emphasised their competitiveness on the pillars of safety standard requirements and innovation. This emphasises particularly in the context of safety critical components such as tyres has become the impetus in how manufacturers are getting one over their competitors and solidifying their position to be at the apex of original equipment manufacturing. However, what is the stimulus behind this drive or more judiciously what should manufacturers keep in mind when they battle for supremacy when it comes to manufacturing stakes – bottom line profits or consumer safety? That has always been the fine line that manufacturers have had to contend with in the pursuit for dominance where reputation is everything. These two pillars are always intertwining with one another where manufacturers continually invest heavily in their research and development to galvanise their innovation output and to ensure their products are always at... Read More

Building rail capacity in landlocked countries is key

The Southern Africa Hinterland Territories – Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia – are vital for the continent’s growth. And rail infrastructure development is an important building block to improving trade across this region. This is according to Emmanuel Ntshangase, Country Manager of Maersk Line Hinterland Territories, who believes each of these countries has a great deal to offer the rest of the world. “For example, Lake Nyasa in Malawi contains more fish species than any other lake in the world, making it a prime location for the export of fish. Furthermore, Zambia is Africa’s second largest copper producer and Zimbabwe is the world’s sixth largest tobacco producing country.” Poor inland connectivity and the related cost to move products inland are among the biggest challenges currently facing landlocked countries with regards to trade. “The World Bank Trading Across Boarders Report, which ranks economies on their ease of doing business, suggests that hinterland Countries currently have room to improve when it comes... Read More

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