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South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) hosted its annual awards ceremony on Thursday, 28 September, in a hybrid event both online and in-person at the Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg.

The SANRAL SAICE 2021 National Awards celebrate and reward the outstanding individuals and projects that are a catalyst for innovation and good practice in the development of civil engineering. They also aim to create an awareness of the contribution made to the civil engineering industry by SAICE members.

SANRAL SAICE National Award winners announced

“Through these awards, we hope to create role models for students and young civil engineers, and encourage leadership in the industry,” said SAICE President Vishal Krishandutt, in his opening address. “As civil engineers, technicians and technologists, we have a responsibility to society and the power to shape the future. At SAICE, we hope this evening inspires you in your role in this very crucial industry.”

Part of the special evening included a presentation on the SAICE History and Heritage Panel. In 2006, the SAICE History and Heritage Panel was formulated to recognise people and projects that have played an important role in preserving engineering history.

Chris Roth, Professor at the University of Pretoria and Chairperson of the SAICE History and Heritage Panel, explained that recognizing historical projects, which he described as ‘soaring feats of engineering’, aimed to assist in its preservation, and also highlighted the experts behind such projects to the public

Through a stringent process, the panel annually recognises  a deserving project as a National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark. The winner this year was the Victoria Bridge at Fort Beaufort in the Amatola Branch. In conjunction with the American Society of Civil Engineers, the panel also recognised two International Historical Civil Engineering Landmarks, the Woodhead Dam on Table Mountain and Cape Agulhas Lighthouse.

Tom Mckune, SAICE Head of Training, spoke to the various initiatives underway within SAICE with a strong focus on professional registration. He also encouraged experienced, skilled professionals to become mentors to help continue to grow and develop the future civil engineering professionals.

This was further advocated by Vishaal Lutchman, CEO of SAICE: “We have the ability to give back knowledge through sharing and mentorship. This can happen in all spaces, and it allows the opportunity to connect with one another.”

Lutchman stressed: “As the civil engineering fraternity, we need to be able to focus on our work with purpose and make a positive impact in our communities, while still achieving the business objectives of our employees. As an industry, I believe that if we lobby in the right manner, and if we converge our agendas to a common cause, we can be a lot more effective as a collective. Let us continue to explore our diversity;  the opportunity to develop homegrown solutions and leverage on the true capability that we possess as civil engineering professionals in South Africa to make that much needed contribution towards socio economic woes.”

This year, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) partnered with SAICE as the naming rights sponsor. Louw Kannemeyer, representing SANRAL, highlighted the challenges experienced by SANRAL, and the steps that the entity has taken to engage with National Treasury as a result of the difficulties that have presented in projects getting off the ground as a result of the implementation and interpretation of regulation, all of which had been further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kannemeyer spoke to SANRAL’s journey ahead, with some great news: “In the next few weeks, I believe  there are nine major contracts for construction that we will be awarding,  and this means, we will be committing over 30 billion rand to those major projects that have been going through the tender process, the adjudication process, and legal processes.”

Meanwhile, the keynote address for the evening was delivered by Professor Adrian Saville, Investment Specialist at Genera Capital and Professor at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. Prof Saville discussed the state of South Africa’s economy. “We have to turn policy promise into economic confidence by getting out of the business of talking, and into the business of evidencing.  

He added: “We have a lot of hard work around us that has to be done. We are in a tough environment but this is not a failed state. This isn't a broken economy. It is an environment that is stumbling and stuttering and it needs help.”

Nthabeleng Lentsoane, SAICE Head of PR and Marketing, paid special tribute to the main sponsors and all other stakeholders, who helped make this initiative a reality. These included SANRAL, Egis Operation South Africa, Umgeni Water, Mariswe, SKI Civil and Structural Engineers, Maccaferri SA, FNB, Reinforced Earth, PPS for Professionals, and Zutari.

WINNERS OF THE SAICE SANRAL 2021 NATIONAL AWARDS

The individual awards honour a person who has rendered outstanding service to the profession or one who has made a contribution of distinction to civil engineering:

  • Young Engineer of the Year, sponsored by FNB: Ching-Chiao (Alice) Chang from Zutari.
  • Technologist of the Year: Teniel Ramjogi from BMK
  • Graduate Engineer of the Year, sponsored by PPS for Professionals: Michael Mhlanga, Chairperson of the SAICE Young Members Panel

Project awards are for projects which portray the art and science of civil engineering to the public and display how the profession find solutions to challenging requirements:

  • Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Project, sponsored by Maccaferri SA:
  • Winner: Ezimbokodweni Pipe & Pedestrian Bridge, Josh Padayachee, Naidu Consulting.
  • Highly commended: Crossing the Magaliesberg - The new Pampoen Nek Highway, Raelize du Plooy, Zutari.
  • Highly commended: Expansion of the King Cetshwayo Highway-Westwood Interchange, Jitesh Harripershad, eThekwini Municipality - Engineering Unit - Roads Provision Department.
  • Commendation: Xhora Off Channel Dam, John Petzer, Hatch Africa.
  • Most Outstanding International Civil Engineering Project
  • Winner: Port of Maputo Traffic Study, Avinash Menon, Koleko.

Next were the institutional awards, which awards excellence within SAICE’s operations across the country. The winners are:

  • Branch of the Year, joint winners:
    • SAICE Durban Branch
    • SAICE Western Cape Branch
  • Division of the Year:
    • SAICE’s Transportation Division
  • Student Chapter of the Year, sponsored by PPS for Professionals:
    • UJ Civil Student Society

Next, the awards turned to the highly appraised Zutari photo competition which looks for the creative portrayal of civil engineering activities or projects. The following winners were announced.

  • First place: Maphole Loke, Lesotho Highlands Water Project PhaseII - Base repairs: Insitu recycling
  • Second place: Gaelen Wright, Ashton Arch Reflected
  • Third Place: Ightishaan Groenewald, Oyster Bay Wind farm turbine Assembly with Kouga Wind Farm in the background.

Finally, the award for the Most Supportive Advertisers of 2020 was presented. SAICE is grateful to every advertiser that supports the industry and there are two organisations that were awarded this year.

  • Winner: Reinforced Earth
  • Runner-up: Standard Bank

“Congratulations to all of our winners, and every person who entered the awards. The calibre of entries received reminds us of the passion and drive of our industry. I encourage us all to keep the momentum, and lead our industry forward,” concluded Lentsoane in her closing remarks.

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