Thursday, February 09, 2006

State attempts to combat engineers shortage

Municipalities around the country have failed to spend R1,2-billion from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant due to a dire shortage of engineers and other skilled professionals.

This is according to the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works MEC Marius Fransman, who said municipalities around the country struggled to spend R1,2-billion last year because they do not have the necessary technical capacity in scarce skills to help in the development of infrastructure in their areas.

In fact, 74 percent of professional posts in local government are vacant, according to a government report.

Municipalities around the country struggled to spend R1,2-billion.

South African engineers do no fare much better as there are only 14 900 for a population of 45-million - a number 10 times below the world norm, the government report says. In addition, 10 percent of all South African engineers and quantity surveyors have emigrated since 1998.

Only 1,5 percent of matriculants pass with maths and science of high enough standard to do engineering, the report adds.Similar to the national experience, the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works reported a 41 percent vacancy rate for engineering posts, most of which have been vacant for more than four years. Full Story

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